DepEd chief shrugs off discipline bill veto
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Education Secretary Leonor Briones yesterday shrugged off President Duterte's veto of the positive discipline bill passed by Congress, as she pointed out that the Department of Education (DepEd) already has the Child Protection Policy (CPP) in force in all schools.

In a press briefing yesterday at the Don Alejandro Roces Sr. Science & Technology High School, Briones said she deferred to the decision of the President on the bill.

“Presently, we have the CPP, which is clearly articulated in all our memoranda and policies,” she said.

The CPP, issued in 2012, laid down the guidelines for public and private school teachers in the administration of disciplinary actions against erring students. When the CPP was issued, it was hailed as a landmark policy for teachers against bullying in schools.

The bill, which advocated “positive and non-violent discipline” and prohibited both physical and non-physical violence as a form of punishment, has been rejected by the Duterte, who called it “overly sweeping.”

In his veto message, the President said countless children have been raised up to become law-abiding citizens because of self-restrained corporal punishment. He also argued that the bill would allow the government to breach the privacy of Filipino families. 

Even public school teachers’ group federation, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), had earlier called the positive discipline bill as unnecessary.  

“Corporal punishment is not allowed in our schools. Thus, we do not need a law to prohibit the already prohibited,”Benjo Basas of the TDC earlier said.

“Our teachers are already burdened by so many regulations that are used or misused against us. The anti-child abuse law is still enforceable; this is an example of a law that has a very good intention. We also have the DepEd Child Protection Policy that imposes strict rules on protection of children in a school setting. We recognize and respect these regulations, but unfortunately, these are also being used to harass, threaten and intimidate the helpless teachers or extort money from them,”he added.

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