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Support the no spanking legislation

MANILA (UCAN) : An advocacy team for children’s rights made up of members of the Swedish parliament called on the Philippine Church to support an international movement seeking to outlaw corporal punishment of children at a seminar in Manila on February 1.

“It is possible to discipline children without hitting them,” the Swedish delegation told some 100 or so people present at the seminar, which was organised by Save the Children Sweden and Child Rights Network.

“It is possible and legislation is one very important part. We can see very good examples in Sweden—how to treat and discipline children in a way other than corporal punishment,” said Ulrika Carlsson, a member of the Centre Party.

Carlsson said one way of disciplining children without resorting to painful methods is to consistently talk a lot to the children and motivate them.

She said a law is needed to protect children from all forms of violence, both physical and psychological. “That means you don’t have to smack, spank or do any other thing that will hurt them. And not telling them bad things to put them down.”

Carlsson said the Church could play an important role by supporting House Bill 4455, or the Anti-Corporal Punishment Bill, filed in the Philippine Congress.

“I hope that the Churches here in The Philippines also support the legislation, because it is not to spoil your children, but to bring them up in a good way,” Carlsson said.

Morgan Johansson, a member of the Social Democratic Party, said the Church can be a positive force. “The main Christian message is the message of love, not of fear. Jesus himself actually is the symbol and his action towards children really was a very good example of that.”

Citing Catholic countries that have introduced legislation like Spain, Poland, Venezuela and Brazil, Johansson said, “I hope the Catholic Church can also play a positive role in changing the behaviour that I think most Churches actually want—stand for non-violence instead of standing for violence.”

Johansson added, “I hope The Philippines will be the first country in Asia.”

Johansson continued, “We travel to countries where we see there is a possibility of progress, where there is an interest. Right now, we are looking especially at Asia, because there is still no Asian country that has this law.”