When a mother hits her child with an intention to correct a behavior, is it physical abuse or a form of discipline? Contrary to popular belief, Philippine law says it is a form of discipline.
In the latest episode of the public affairs program ‘Cayetano in Action with Boy Abunda’ at GMA 7, Senators Alan and Pia Cayetano tackled the case of a mother who had hit her child for allegedly refusing to listen to her during one of their modular learning sessions.
The child’s school teacher, who is also the owner of the daycare center the child is studying in for free, took to the show her concern for the welfare of her student.
After hearing in detail the two sides of the story, Senator Alan clarified that the act can only be considered physical abuse if the parent had been doing it repeatedly to the child for a long time, and without good intent.
“Liliwanagin ko lang – at dito nga nagiging controversial – right now ang bawal po ay physical abuse, hindi po bawal paluin ang bata,” the senator explained.
“Halimbawa, pinalo mo ang kamay kasi nga doon matututo. But once it becomes abuse, doon pumapasok y’ung discretion ng teacher at Anti-Violence Against Women and Children (VWC) council na, ‘Sandali lang, sasabihin mo palo lang pero araw-araw mong ginagawa,’” he added.
Senator Alan stressed that any form of abuse against children is punishable under Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.
He also said abuse has a wider meaning than many people realize. “That does not only [apply] to physical abuse. Y’ung emotional abuse, y’ung mumura-murahin mo, o papahiyain mo y’ung bata, sakop din po ‘yan,” he said.
“In fact, y’ung abuse is not only y’ung pag may ginawa ka pero pati y’ung hindi mo ginawa, neglect sa bata, abuse y’un,” he added.
Senators Alan and Pia expressed gratitude for the selflessness of the teacher, who had voluntarily enrolled the child to her daycare without tuition in her desire to lift the financial burden off of the parents and prevent the child from dropping out of school.
“I’m happy na may teacher na katulad [mo]. Part ng malasakit ay y’ung may pakialam tayo,” Senator Alan said.