Child rights groups call for support on 'Positive Parenting Bill'

Child rights groups call for support on 'Positive Parenting Bill'

Save the Children and child rights advocates urge the public and lawmakers to back the Positive Parenting Bill to end the physical and humiliating punishment of children in the Philippines. (Photo: Lei Tapang, Save the Children)

PHILIPPINES – Save the Children Philippines and child rights organizations are urging lawmakers and the general public to support the Positive Parenting Bill to protect children's rights. This legislative proposal seeks to prohibit the nationwide use of physical and humiliating punishments on children.

Stories like Dahlia's, a 16-year-old from Parañaque, who faced abuse from her own family members, highlight the urgent need for change. A 2022 report from the Council for the Welfare of Children exposed that around 9,000 children endured various forms of abuse, including physical harm and emotional humiliation. Despite this alarming statistic, the Philippines remains one of the 134 countries lacking a law to prevent such maltreatment.

Save the Children Philippines, along with partners like Child Rights Network, Child Fund Philippines, Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, and advocates for child and parent rights, is now raising its voice for the Positive Parenting Bill. The bill is championed by Rep. Natasha Co, Chairperson of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children and BHW Party-list. Co emphasized that this bill would guide parents toward effective, non-violent methods of discipline, marking a shift from punitive approaches.

The Positive Parenting in All Settings Act (HBN 8306) and An Act Providing for Non-Violent Discipline of Children and Appropriating Funds (HBN 1269) have received endorsement from Save the Children Philippines. These bills acknowledge children's rights and the necessity of a nurturing environment for their growth. The bills also stress that physical and humiliating punishments are counterproductive and harm children's well-being.

The impact of positive parenting is evident in real-life stories like Rabiya's. After attending a Positive Parenting seminar by Save the Children, she transformed her approach from physical discipline to communication. "I no longer hit them, instead I talk to them now. My children and I have a better relationship when we talk about the problem," Rabiya shared.

Save the Children underscores that non-violent parenting approaches yield better outcomes for children. A recent global report indicated that corporal punishment hampers academic achievement and negatively affects mental and physical health.

The Positive Parenting Bill marks a significant step towards protecting children's rights. Senator Risa Hontiveros and Rep. Angelica Natasha Co have introduced bill versions in their respective chambers. Hontiveros's Senate Bill 2036 and Co's House Bill 8306 underline the importance of safeguarding the most vulnerable members of society.

As Filipinos are called to embrace this pivotal legislation, Save the Children Philippines stresses that fostering an environment of love and respect during child-rearing will shape future leaders who contribute to the nation with dignity and compassion.

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