End Corporal Punishment


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Parenting without Punishing: A Policy Brief on the Anti-Corporal Punishment Law in the Philippines

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End Corporal Punishment

  1. 1. PEOPLE COUNT P L C P D P O L I C Y B R I E F Parenting without punishing A Policy Brief on the Proposed Anti-Corporal Punishment Law By Carlos O. Tulali Introduction Corporal punishment is often defended in the and disapproval, and punishment involving physical name of tradition and, at times, even in the name pain, as in corporal punishment. of religion. Physical punishment as a discipline method is also defended by touting its supposed Corporal punishment has been commonly used beneficial impact on children’s behavior. in many societies and the form it takes varies according to culture and religion. Research has Discipline is frequently confused with punishment, shown, though, that it is not effective in promoting particularly by caregivers who use corporal the desired change in behavior in any lasting way. punishment in an attempt to correct and change The behavioral and emotional consequences children’s behavior. But there are several differences of corporal punishment vary according to how between discipline and punishment (refer to Box 1). frequently and how severely the punishment is applied, as well as to the age, developmental Discipline for children involves training and helping state, vulnerability, and resilience of the child. them develop judgment, a sense of boundaries, Corporal punishment humiliates children and can self-control, self-sufficiency, and positive social lead to physical injury and serious impairment in conduct. Discipline, unlike punishment, teaches development. children to learn from their mistakes rather than makes them suffer for those mistakes. In fact, Noting that parents’ use of corporal punishment imposing suffering actually shifts the focus from the to discipline their children remains a strongly lesson that needs to be learned to who is in control. debated issue, this policy brief discusses As a result, with punishment, the focus is on the why prohibition is needed (the human rights parent controlling a child’s behavior, as opposed imperative), what should be prohibited (all to discipline wherein the focus is on the child corporal punishment and other cruel and controlling his own behavior. degrading punishment), how prohibition can be achieved (law review and reform), and how to There are two types of punishment typically used use positive discipline as an alternative form of on children: punishment involving verbal reprimand disciplining children. Expanding choices, uplifting lives through responsive population and human development legislation
  2. 2. 2 PLCPD POLICY BRIEF | Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law Box 1. Discipline Punishment Discipline vs. Emphasizes what a child should do Emphasizes what a child should not do Punishment Is an ongoing process Is a one-time occurrence Sets an example to follow Insists on obedience Leads to self control Undermines independence Helps children change Is an adult release Is positive Is negative Accepts child’s need to assert self Makes children behave Fosters child’s ability to think Thinks for child Bolsters self-esteem Defeats self-esteem Shapes behavior Condemns misbehavior Definition or undignified positions or take excessive physical exercise; and burning or scarring the child. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child defines “corporal” or “physical” punishment Humiliating or degrading punishment of children, as “any punishment in which physical force is used on the other hand, takes various forms, such as and intended to cause some degree of pain or psychological punishment, verbal abuse, ridicule, discomfort, however light.” Most involves hitting isolation, or ignoring the child. (“smacking,” “slapping,” “spanking”) children, with the hand or with an implement—a whip, stick, belt, Other forms of punishment such as making children shoe, wooden spoon, etc. But it can also involve, do heavy physical labor or stay in degrading or for example, kicking, shaking or throwing children, uncomfortable positions also constitute corporal scratching, pinching, biting, pulling hair or boxing punishment. ears, forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding or forced ingestion While corporal punishment is more visible, (for example, washing children’s mouths out with emotional punishment in the form of humiliating or soap or forcing them to swallow hot spices). In degrading punishment is more difficult to identify the view of the Committee, corporal punishment is and confront as forms of child abuse. invariably degrading. In addition, there are other non-physical forms of punishment that are also cruel and degrading and, thus, incompatible with Prevalence the Convention. These include punishment that belittles, humiliates, denigrates, threatens, scares or Research into Filipino children’s experiences of child ridicules the child.1 abuse found that the most abusive acts were those inflicted by parents in the name of discipline and Forms of Corporal Punishment included spanking, beating or mauling (including the use of a wooden stick, belt, bat or broom by a Save the Children (2004)2 identifies two categories of parent, incessant beatings, slaps on the face, and punishment of children that can occur separately or burning with a flat iron), scolding or punishing the together, i.e., corporal or physical punishment, and child even if he did nothing wrong, humiliating the humiliating or degrading punishment. Both forms of child in public, and shouting and cursing at the child.3 punishment constitute violations of children’s rights. Corporal or physical punishment of children and the Save the Children Sweden’s Comparative Research threat of it includes hitting the child with the hand or on the Physical and Emotional Punishment of with an object (such as a cane, belt, whip, shoe, etc.); Children (2005), which included the perspectives kicking, shaking, or throwing the child; pinching or of 3,322 children from eight countries in Southeast pulling their hair; forcing a child to stay in uncomfortable Asia and Pacific Region including the Philippines,
  3. 3. Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law | PLCPD POLICY BRIEF 3 revealed that physical and emotional punishment grows older. The little smack thus becomes a is widely used in these countries and, interestingly, spanking and then a beating. Parents convicted the methods were very similar – spanking, hitting of seriously assaulting their children often explain using specific objects like a stick or belt, punching, that the ill treatment of their child began as kicking and verbal assault.4 An unpublished study “ordinary” corporal punishment. also conducted by Save the Children Sweden in the Philippines (2005) revealed that 85 percent of — Encouraging violence: any corporal punishment children interviewed said they are being punished in carries the message that violence is an the home, with spanking as the most common (65 appropriate response to conflict or unwanted percent), and 82 percent said that they were hit on behavior. Aggression breeds aggression. Children different parts of the body.5 subjected to corporal punishment have been shown to be more likely than others to be Filipino children also experience threats of physical aggressive to siblings; to bully other children in punishment and humiliating treatment such as school; to take part in aggressively anti-social being shouted at in front of others, and being behavior in adolescence; to be violent to their labeled and denigrated.6 In the areas covered by spouses and their own children; and to commit the UNICEF Philippines country programme, 60 violent crimes. percent of women (3.6 million) reported that they used at least one form of psychological or physical — Psychological damage: corporal punishment punishment to punish or discipline their children. In can be emotionally harmful to children. particular, 13 percent reported that they used some Research especially indicts messages confusing severe physical punishment on their children.7 love with pain, anger with submission. A survey conducted among Filipino students generated evidence that Filipino children, especially It would be a mistake to conclude that corporal adolescents, also experience verbal abuse, punishment inevitably leads to aggression, drinking degradation and other forms of psychological problems, suicide, and so on. That could hardly be punishment, and that even these non-physical the case, or the human race would not have survived. forms of punishment have negative effects on Instead of a one-to-one causal relationship, corporal children, such as low self-worth, depression, punishment is what epidemiologists call a “risk factor.”10 displaced anger and aggression.8 Studies found that most children who are hit by parents will experience few or no long-term problems but the proportion that do experience problems is at 1.8 to Consequences and Effects 3.9 times greater risk than children who are not hit by parents, depending on the type of problem.11 There is a large body of international research suggesting negative effects from corporal Why Prohibit Corporal Punishment? punishment. These are some of them:9 There are many reasons why corporal punishment — Escalation: mild punishments in infancy are so of children should be prohibited: ineffective that they tend to escalate as the child • it is a violation of children’s rights to respect
  4. 4. 4 PLCPD POLICY BRIEF | Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law Box 2. • Direct assault in the form of blows to any part of a child’s body such as beating, hitting, slapping Different or lashing, with or without the use of an instrument such as a cane, stick or belt; Forms of • Other forms of direct assault on a child’s body such as pinching, pulling ears or hair, twisting joints, cutting and shaving hair, cutting or piercing skin, carrying or dragging a child against his or her will; Corporal • Indirect assault on a child’s body, through the use of power, authority or threats, to force a child to Punishment perform physically painful or damaging acts, such as holding a weight or weights for an extended period, kneeling on stones, standing or sitting in a contorted position; • Deliberate neglect of a child’s physical needs, where this is intended as punishment; • Use of external substances–such as burning or freezing materials, water, smoke (including from smoldering peppers), excrement or urine–to inflict pain, fear, harm, disgust or loss of dignity; • Use of hazardous tasks as punishment or for the purpose of discipline, including those that are beyond a child’s strength or that bring him into contact with dangerous or unhygienic substances; such tasks include sweeping or digging in the hot sun, using bleach or insecticides, unprotected cleaning of toilets; • Confinement, including being shut in a confined space, tied up, or forced to remain in one place for an extended period of time; • Any other act perpetrated on a child’s body for the purpose of punishment or discipline, which children themselves define as corporal punishment in the context of their own language and culture identified through scientific participatory research with children; • Witnessing any form of violent conflict resolution; • Threats of physical punishment; • Verbal assaults, threats, ridicule and/or denigration intended to reduce a child’s confidence, self- esteem or dignity. Source: International Save the Children Alliance SEAP Region, 2003, 42-43. for physical integrity, human dignity and equal entered into force on September 12, 1990, only protection under the law; a year after its adoption. Under the Convention, a • it can cause serious physical and psychological child is defined as “a human being below the age harm to children; of eighteen years, unless under the law applicable • it teaches children that violence is an acceptable to the child, majority is attained earlier.”13 It sets the and appropriate strategy for resolving conflict or primary guideline in all actions concerning children, getting people to do what they want; which is in the best interest of the child. • it is ineffective as a means of discipline–there are positive ways to teach, correct or discipline The Committee has also emphasized that, in addition children, which are better for children’s to being an obligation of States, prohibition is ‘a key development and which contribute to building strategy for reducing and preventing all forms of relationships based on trust and mutual respect; violence in societies’.14 UNCRC defines substantive • it is difficult to protect children if corporal provisions on how children should be treated in punishment is legitimate–this implies that some the different areas of their lives. Some provisions forms or levels of violence against children are relate to the family environment or alternative care; acceptable.12 others describe measures to guarantee children a meaningful education and access to health care. Prohibition is necessary because all people, UNCRC adopts a rights-based approach; it is in fact a including children, have human rights to respect human rights instrument for children. for dignity and physical integrity, protection from all forms of violence, and equal protection under Other UN treaty monitoring bodies including the law. The United Nations Committee on the the Committee Against Torture, the Committee Rights of the Child has made it absolutely clear that on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the prohibition of corporal punishment in all settings Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination is required to implement the UN Convention on Against Women, and the Human Rights Committee the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC, one have also recommended that states explicitly of the most ratified United Nations Conventions, prohibit corporal punishment of children.15
  5. 5. Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law | PLCPD POLICY BRIEF 5 Policy and Legal Environment the Rights of the Child, the international body established to monitor governments’ progress in The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines guarantees implementing the UNCRC. In its scrutiny of these the right of children to assistance and special reports, the Committee has stressed the need for protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, changes in government structures and mechanisms exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their to allow consistent consideration of children’s development.16 The Constitution recognizes as a rights–compatibility of legislation, national strategies State policy the natural right and duty of parents in for children rooted in the UNCRC, analysis of the the rearing of children, stating that: impact of proposed policies on children, budgetary analysis, and public awareness of children’s rights, “The natural and primary right and duty of to name just a few. parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral The UNCRC serves as the moving force for the character shall receive the support of the enactment of national laws to further protect children Government.” 17 from different forms of abuse and exploitation. On June 17, 1992, the Philippine Congress passed The insertion of the adjective “primary” to describe Republic Act 7610 (An Act Providing for Stronger the rights of parents implies that the right of parents Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child is superior to that of the State.18 However, the State Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination, otherwise has the “duty of protecting the rights of persons or known as the Special Protection of Children Act). individuals who, because of age or incapacity, are in It provides stronger legislation and public policy an unfavorable position vis-à-vis other parties.”19 for the care and protection of children in need of The Philippines was the thirty-first State to ratify special protection, declaring it “the policy of the the UNCRC on July 26, 1990 by virtue of Senate State to provide special protection to children from Resolution 109, thus, the UNCRC forms part of the all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation law of the land. In the World Summit for Children and discrimination, and other conditions prejudicial of 1990, the Philippines adopted specific goals to their development, provide sanctions for their for children, which resulted in the adoption in commission and carry out a program for prevention December 1991 of the Philippine Plan of Action for and deterrence, and crisis intervention in situations of Children (PPAC) in the 1990s and Beyond through child abuse, exploitation, and discrimination”20 Proclamation No. 855. Other laws that provide Filipino children protection The Convention also requires governments to from violence and abuse include: the Revised Penal provide regular reports to the UN Committee on Code (RA 3815); the Child and Youth Welfare Code Save the Children Sweden 2005: Box. 3. • 85% of children said they are punished in the home Results of • 82% reported that they were hit on different parts of their body Studies on • 65% reported that spanking is the most common form of physical punishment Prevalence of Corporal World Report on Violence and Health 2002: • 75% of Filipino children said that they were spanked Punishment in the National Health Institute 2003, Department of Health, Philippines; Nationwide (community survey of Philippines 2,704 adolescents): • 83% said they had been physically maltreated • 60% received psychological insults and debasement Ramiro et al., 1998 (survey of 2,550 Filipino school children from urban and rural communities): Top abuses experienced by children: • verbal abuse (70 %) • physical maltreatment (60.7%) • emotional, non-verbal abuse (45.8%)
  6. 6. 6 PLCPD POLICY BRIEF | Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law (PD 603), the Family Code (EO 209); the Anti-Rape child abuse to include corporal punishment, Law of 1997 (RA 8353), the Domestic Adoption Act there is yet no explicit law prohibiting corporal of 1998 (RA 8552), and the Anti-Violence Against punishment in the home, in schools, and in Women and their Children Act of 2004 (RA 9262). other institutional settings, except for children in conflict with the law and children in detention who are now adequately given protection and more humane treatment under the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act enacted in 2006. This fact has been reinforced by a 2006 Save the Children UK study, which reviewed and analyzed various existing Philippine laws related to discipline and punishment of children within the family. The study found that current legislative provisions are too general and vague to guide parents in the exercise of their right to discipline children and, more importantly, to protect the physical integrity and human dignity of children.21 Gaps and Weaknesses of Policies on Home and Family Corporal Punishment • Existing laws are unclear and can have different interpretations At first glance, the child protection laws in the The right to discipline and punish children country seem to be progressive. However, once the accorded to parents are not without limitations. definitions of terminology are examined, the laws are Philippine laws refer to terms such as “may revealed not to be so protective. Indeed, parents and be required under the circumstances,” legal guardians can use discipline as an argument to “moderately” and “just and reasonable rules, defend the use of corporal punishment. suggestions and admonitions” in the exercise of discipline and punishment. In applying these The Special Protection for Children Act (RA 7610), qualifications, it is not clear whose point of which is a response to the UN Convention on view is considered–whether that of the parents the Rights of the Child, prohibits ”the infliction or of the child. Another major concern is that of physical or psychological injury, cruelty to, or the qualifications provided by law are open to neglect, sexual abuse or exploitation of a child.” subjective interpretation. What is “moderate” Cruelty is defined as ”any act by word or deed, and “just and reasonable” for the parents which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic may already be considered “excessive” or worth and dignity of a child as a human being.” “unreasonable” by another set of parents. These However, the Implementing Rules and Regulations restrictions, which are applied subjectively, to RA 7610 defines some terms within the context are too general and vague to guide parents in of the Philippine law. Physical abuse is included the exercise of their right to discipline children in the definition of cruelty and physical injury. It and, more importantly, to protect the physical states that “discipline administered by a parent or integrity and human dignity of children. legal guardian to a child does not constitute cruelty, provided it is reasonable in manner and moderate • Existing laws do not cover the more common in degree and does not constitute physical or and lighter forms of punishment psychological injury.” Based on the definition, what is “reasonable” and “moderate” cruelty is based on General penal laws do not cover the second an assessment influenced by one’s values, beliefs, category of discipline: humiliating or degrading and own experiences. punishment–which takes various forms such as psychological punishment, verbal abuse, As the Committee on the Rights of the Child ridicule, isolation or ignoring the child–because observed, while RA 7610 broadly defines the law requires that a deed or physical act be
  7. 7. Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law | PLCPD POLICY BRIEF 7 committed before any person may be deemed never be used.”24 The Standards should be further to have committed an offense.23 amended to include all forms of punishment, physical or emotional, which violate the physical All forms of corporal punishment of children, integrity and human dignity of the child. however light, constitute violence against the child. Corporal punishment is one form of Workplace violence against children or child abuse. It is not Unlike laws on family relations, schools and alternative a separate method of discipline used by parents, care settings, there are no provisions, which are teachers or other caregivers as they see fit. In directly applicable to discipline and punishment of today’s society, violence against women and children in the context of work. Although there are elderly people are not accepted in any form. Why several penal laws that are applicable to certain acts should it be different for children? committed against children, a more direct provision prohibiting corporal and humiliating and degrading • Existing laws do not cover injuries resulting from punishment of children should be enacted to cover discipline administered by parents to their children persons who employ them. Even if regulations exist against the parents in disciplining the child, the crimes covered by penal Barriers to Prohibiting Corporal Punishment laws are specifically defined. There is a possibility that the act of the parents in disciplining the child Proponents of corporal punishment primarily base may not fall under penal laws. their support for this disciplinary practice on their interpretation of biblical statements and other religious teachings, or on their firm conviction that School Setting physical punishment is a parental obligation or The DepEd guidelines for both public and private duty. Many also recount their personal experience schools prohibit the use of cruel or physically of physical discipline within their childhood home harmful punishment against students. However, or school and note that, because ‘it never did them while the public schools’ Service Manual elaborates any harm,’ it is likely to work for the next generation on the rule, specifically prohibiting corporal as effectively. Advocates of corporal punishment, punishment including humiliating and degrading therefore, support existing legal provisions, which punishment, the private schools’ Service Manual provide parents a defense against charges of assault, does not include “humiliating and degrading provided the force used was “just and reasonable” punishment.” Thus, a similar provision should be and for the purpose of correcting the child’s behavior. added to the manual for private schools. Government and public will are also considered Penal System to be a barrier in prohibiting corporal punishment The judiciary issued guidelines specific to children in the Philippines. Without government support in conflict with the law, which define and prohibit for child protection and the necessary resources, corporal punishment. However, aside from policies, systems and services, then neither prohibiting corporal punishment, the judgment individual professionals nor NGOs can achieve should be guided by the principle that it should not a systematic impact to support all children (in all be degrading or humiliating for the child. geographic areas, at all economic levels). Public awareness and cooperation are also critical in Alternative Care Settings enabling professionals to help prevent corporal punishment and child abuse. The “Standards in the Implementation of Residential Care Services” adopted by the Department of There are several factors that prevent government Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) applies and the public from taking an active pro-child stand, to agencies or centers that provide residential care including prohibiting corporal punishment, such as: service. However, it only provides that “corporal punishment detrimental to the residents’ emotional, — Financial concerns. Government believes that psychological and physical development shall child protection is expensive. What it does not
  8. 8. 8 PLCPD POLICY BRIEF | Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law Box 4. Family Code of the Philippines: Philippine “The parents and those exercising parental authority shall have… the following rights and duties… Laws Related (sec. 7) to impose discipline on them as may be required under the circumstances.“ (Art. 220) to the “… parental authority [may be suspended] if the parent or the person exercising the same… (sec. Discipline 1) treats the child with excessive harshness or cruelty.” (Art. 231) and Punishment Child and Youth Welfare Code: of Children “Parents have the right to discipline their child as may be necessary for the formation of his good at Home character, and may therefore require from him obedience to just and reasonable rules, suggestions and admonitions.” (Art. 45) “Criminal liability shall attach to any parent who… (sec. 8) inflicts cruel and unusual punishment upon the child or deliberately subjects him to indignities and other excessive chastisement that embarrass or humiliate him.” (Art. 59) Republic Act 7610, Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act (Rules and Regulations on the Reporting and Investigation of Child Abuse Cases, Sec. 2): “Cruelty” refers to any act by word or deed, which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being. Discipline administered by a parent or legal guardian to a child does not constitute cruelty provided it is reasonable in manner and moderate in degree… RA 7610 (Rules and Regulations, Sec. 2): Discipline…does not constitute cruelty provided it…does not constitute physical or psychological injury as defined herein; “Physical injury” includes, but is not limited to, lacerations, fractured bones, burns, internal injuries, severe injury or serious bodily harm suffered by a child; “Psychological injury” means harm to a child’s psychological or intellectual functioning, which may be exhibited by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal or outward aggressive behavior, or a combination of said behaviors, which may be demonstrated by a change in behavior, emotional response or cognition; Revised Penal Code (Art. 263: Serious physical injuries): “Any person who shall wound, beat, or assault another, shall be guilty of the crime of serious physical injuries…[This] shall not be applicable to a parent who shall inflict physical injuries upon his child by excessive chastisement.” understand is that prevention is less expensive misconceptions. The child protection field lacks in the long-term. International donors that evidence based on evaluated interventions provide funding directly to the government and demonstration of impact of corporal rather than through civil society often do not punishment. establish monitoring requirements or control to ensure that funding is used for strengthening — Lack of public awareness and will. Social and the effectiveness of child protection. traditional norms can constrain the government from taking action to protect children or — Information deficit. Government does not establish children’s rights. In a country like have accurate information or evidence about the Philippines, there is an almost absolute the implications of corporal punishment or respect for family privacy and parental rights, the effectiveness of prevention. As a result, which prevents professionals from interfering/ policy decisions have turned out to be bad intervening in the family domain. There is often because these have often been based on a public and/or government view that children/
  9. 9. Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law | PLCPD POLICY BRIEF 9 young people are ‘out of control’ and that there rights. When accompanied by comprehensive and is a need to reinforce authority. sustained awareness-raising, public education, and promotion of positive, participatory and non- violent ways to approach parenting and discipline, In summary: law reform sends a strong educational signal: that hitting or humiliating a child is just as illegal and 1) There is still a low level of awareness of unacceptable as hitting or humiliating anyone else. the high incidence of corporal punishment, violence, and abuse of children, and the short Thus, on November 5, 2007, recognizing the and long-term implications of such experiences prevalence of corporal punishment in the country, for children and their families. Senator Manny Villar filed Senate Bill No.1812 titled, “An Act Prohibiting the Act of Imposing Corporal 2) There is often a lack of national data to establish Punishment on Children, Amending for the Purpose the seriousness of the problem of corporal Republic Act No. 7610, as Amended, Otherwise punishment. Known as Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.” 3) The lack of said information is exacerbated by In the House of Representatives, a similar bill, the lack of evidence-based good practices and House Bill 682, “An Act Prohibiting and Penalizing models for prevention of corporal punishment the Use of Corporal Punishment on Children,” and intervention programs, often resulting in was introduced by Representative Monica Prieto- situations where government can deny the Teodoro of the First District of Tarlac City. Both bills, existence of either the extent of the problems filed during the 14th Congress, seek to prohibit and of corporal punishment, violence, and abuse penalize the use of corporal punishment on children of children, or of any proven programs and and to amend Republic Act 7610. solutions to these problems. Without such data and further national research, a Also known as “The Anti-Corporal Punishment strong case for increased child protection cannot be Law of 2008,” the above bill redefines corporal made by advocates and professionals, and there is punishment as an infliction of physical and mental often no support for tailored and effective policies, violence upon children as forms of punishment. The child protection systems (including reporting), revised definition also includes any form of public services, or specific training of multidisciplinary humiliation, verbal abuse, and other abusive and professionals who will provide the services to degrading means. abused and at-risk children. The proposed bill states that any parent, ascendant, 4) Without commitment to such programs, there teacher or guardian who uses any form of corporal are no commitments of financial allocations for punishment, whether verbal, physical, mental these critical child protection components. or psychological, can suffer lawful penalties. The proposed bill will also protect students from abusive We therefore need data and evidence to establish punishments from teachers and other academic the importance of the issue and an ensuing authorities, regardless of when or where corporal commitment of financial resources to establish punishment was executed. capacity to protect children (policy, systems, services, training, and related professionals). If passed into a law, violators shall be liable in accordance with existing penal laws, provided that the penalty shall be imposed in the maximum Legislative Measures to Prohibit Corporal period, except where a higher penalty is provided Punishment under Republic Act No. 3815, as amended, otherwise known as the “Revised Penal Code,” Law reform to prohibit all corporal punishment Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the and other forms of humiliating punishment of “Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, children is essential for the realization of children’s Exploitation and Discrimination Act,” or Republic Act
  10. 10. 10 PLCPD POLICY BRIEF | Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law No. 9262, otherwise known as the “Anti-Violence result from their children and an increased Against Women and Their Children Act”. If the act is probability of aggression and other antisocial not penalized under the above mentioned laws, the behavior in the long run.25 penalty shall be arresto mayor (1 month and 1 day to 6 months) in its maximum period. Disciplining children by spanking does not facilitate learning. Instead, it may halt the unwanted If the penalty imposable for the act is only arresto behavior only while the child is in the adult’s menor (1 day to 30 days) or arresto mayor, the bill presence or it may scare a child into submission. states that the prosecutor may refer the accused While it may teach a child what not to do, it fails to to the local social welfare and development office teach a child what is expected of him or her and for assessment and intervention; provided, that the what is an alternate behavior. Additionally, corporal offender has not been previously charged under punishment is most often used when the parent this Act. The interventions shall include seminars is frustrated or does not have another resource. on children’s rights and positive and non-violent Spanking in these circumstances may lead to discipline of children, counseling, anger management, an unintentional injury or more serious abuse. and referrals to other rehabilitative services. If the The following illustrate more of what corporal offender is the parent or a person exercising parental punishment does: authority, the court may suspend parental authority in • increases anxiety and fear accordance with the Family Code. • hinders the development of empathy and compassion for others Another bill, Senate Bill No. 1947 titled, “An Act • makes children angry in response Amending Article 218, Article 220 and Article 223 of • heightens aggression toward others the Family Code to Prohibit All Forms of Corporal • decreases compliance and increases resistance Punishment,” was filed in the Senate by Senator • harms relationship with parent or caregiver Miriam Defensor-Santiago on December 11, 2007. • potentially causes unintended and severe physical injury Promoting Positive Discipline as an Alternative • decreases self-esteem • increases the probability for an array of Discipline is an essential part of child care. Discipline undesirable social and psychological behaviors helps children feel secure, meets their needs, and • teaches that violence is an acceptable way to builds self-control and self-esteem. The objective of handle conflict discipline is to promote behaviors that are beneficial Positive discipline, on the other hand, refers to an to the child’s development and welfare and to approach to parenting that teaches children and change and/or eliminate behaviors that are harmful guides their behavior while respecting their rights or distressing to a child or to others. This is different to healthy development, protection from violence, from punishment. and participation in their learning.26 It is based on the philosophies of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs Corporal punishment may change children’s who believed that all human beings have equal behaviors, but often through fear. It stresses what rights to dignity and respect. All positive discipline children should not do, but rarely teaches them methods are non-punitive and non-permissive. what to do. Children controlled by punishment such They are kind and firm at the same time. Kind as spanking or severe consequences may “behave” because that shows respect for the child and for the to avoid a penalty chosen by the adult. It often adult, and firm because that shows respect for what teaches children to hide their mistakes, and does needs to be done. not build long lasting inner controls or cooperation. Punishment may also cause the children to focus Positive discipline is not permissive parenting. on revenge rather than on changing behaviors. Neither is it about punishment. It is about long- term solutions that develop children’s own self- In a 1997 research, American children whose discipline and their life-long skills. Positive discipline parents used corporal punishment to reduce anti- is about teaching non-violence, empathy, self- social behavior actually experienced the opposite respect, human rights and respect for others. The
  11. 11. Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law | PLCPD POLICY BRIEF 11 use of positive techniques in rearing and educating and then helping them learn to evaluate the children will help them grow to be responsible and potential consequences of their choice; caring citizens as children are given the venue to • reinforcing emerging desirable behaviors with learn, think for themselves, think of others, and take frequent praise and ignoring trivial misdeeds; and responsibility for their actions. • modeling orderly, predictable behavior, respectful communication, and collaborative The four principles of positive discipline are: conflict resolution strategies.29 1) identifying long-term childrearing goals; 2) providing warmth and structure; Policy Options and Strategies 3) understanding how children think and feel; and 4) problem-solving.27 To have all Filipinos embrace the goal of eliminating The following are the major characteristics of all forms of corporal punishment of children, a positive discipline: multilayered strategy of interventions is necessary. • it is non-violent and respectful of the child as a PLCPD recommends such a set of policy options learner; and strategies here. Education should be the • it is about finding long-term solutions that key goal of any such initiative, a principle that is develop children’s own self-discipline; emphasized in each of the strategies discussed. • it involves clear communication of parents’ expectations, rules, and limits; Universal Prohibition – Education Campaign on • it builds a mutually respectful relationship Effective Discipline between parent and child; • it teaches children life-long skills; A universal, or primary, approach to prohibiting • it increases children’s competence and parents’ use of corporal punishment would be confidence to handle challenging situations; and to educate the general public about its risks • it teaches courtesy, non-violence, empathy, self- and about the benefits of using other discipline respect, human rights, and respect for others.28 techniques. Such an approach has the benefit of providing a consistent message to all current Many parents acquainted with the term have and potential parents in the country and of not the misconception that positive discipline is a merely targeting particular populations who will bag of techniques including time outs, natural feel labeled as potential abusers. The main goals consequences, and logical consequences. of such a universal approach would be to change The concept has actually evolved significantly norms about the acceptability and utility of corporal as research and experience have shown that punishment and to increase knowledge of effective consequences are often just punishment in nonviolent forms of discipline. disguise. Positive discipline actually strongly focuses on the benefits of regular family meetings, focusing on solutions for misbehavior rather than blame and on teaching children successful social skills and personal accountability. Strategies for parents and other caregivers that help children learn positive behaviors include: • providing regular positive attention, sometimes called special time (opportunities to communicate positively are important for children of all ages); • listening carefully to children and helping them learn to use words to express their feelings; • providing children with opportunities to make choices whenever appropriate options exist
  12. 12. 12 PLCPD POLICY BRIEF | Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law Targeted Interventions for New Parents and Would- dignity among parents, teachers and all those Be Parents working with and for children; • promoting positive, non-violent disciplinary While a universal campaign is crucial for changing approaches to childrearing and education; the national debate about discipline and may be • changing the attitudes and values that underpin sufficient for some parents to reduce or stop their use the ways adults regard and relate to children; of corporal punishment, changing actual discipline • establishing accessible and effective support behavior for other parents may require more for the family and all those with an input into intensive interventions. Because altering established children’s lives; and behavior patterns is difficult, many such interventions • monitoring progress towards eliminating should be preventive, targeting individuals before corporal punishment.30 they become parents. One preventive approach would be to include a curriculum on effective Specifically, PLCPD recommends the following alternatives to corporal punishment in schools. strategies to end corporal punishment: Another targeted approach would be what is known as tertiary prevention, in other words, one that is 1. Work for the enactment of a law banning targeted at parents who have already been identified corporal punishment of children to have physically abused their children. • explicit prohibition of all forms of corporal punishment and any other humiliating treatment in all settings, including in the home; Reforming Laws Regarding Corporal Punishment • removal of legal defences for the corporal punishment of children; Effective prohibition of corporal punishment requires • establishment of a range of appropriate that it be explicitly prohibited in law. This means a responses and sanctions to address the clear, unambiguous statement in legislation that all continued use of corporal punishment by corporal punishment is prohibited. Children, like parents and others; all people, have a right to equal protection under • clear direction and guidance to all providers the law, including equal protection from assault. of services for children and families to This should apply in all contexts–in the family support and enforce prohibition; home, schools, juvenile justice systems, alternative • comprehensive education and training care (institutions, foster care, day care, etc), in the program of parents, caregivers, and service community, and in situations of employment. providers on positive and non-violent forms of discipline and child rearing; • establishment and strengthening of national and Recommendations community-based child protection systems; and • have the best interest of the child as the The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population primary consideration. and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) is committed to work towards eliminating–through 2. Establish and strengthen the national child policy advocacy, legal reform, education and other protection system measures–all forms of control and punishment of Child protection systems are structures, children, in the family, schools and other settings, mechanisms, processes and tools (including which breach children’s fundamental rights to respect budget allocations, guidelines, standards, and for their physical integrity and human dignity. procedures) that, ideally, should operate in an integrated and coordinated way to prevent, Protecting children from all forms of corporal report, and monitor cases of violence against punishment is not only about prohibition in law. It children and respond to such cases through also requires: programs and services for children experiencing • public education and re-education, raising corporal punishment. awareness of the negative effects of corporal punishment and of children’s rights to protection In the Philippines, the institutional and from all violence and to respect for their human community structures in the effort to protect
  13. 13. Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law | PLCPD POLICY BRIEF 13 children include: • build the capacity of all those who work • child protection units at hospitals; with and for children. • women and children’s desk at police stations; • local councils for the protection of children 4. Involve children in the development of policies (LCPC) and juvenile justice welfare units at and programs the barangay level; • consider children’s experiences and • Parent-Teacher Community Associations in perspectives in the development of policies schools; and programs that would respond to • local social welfare and development offices; corporal punishment; and • Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC); • support children’s own initiatives to raise and awareness among other children on the • quick reaction teams, hotlines, children’s issue of corporal punishment and to help groups, adult support groups or address the issue. neighborhood monitoring groups set up by NGOs and the community. 5. Monitor children’s situation and the implementation of actions and responses Regularly assess and monitor: The means of protecting children in the country • children’s situation and experiences of also include processes and protocols, as well as punishment in all settings, ensuring that national laws and policies, and local codes and children’s perspectives are heard; ordinances that ensure children’s protection is • changes in children and adults’ views on already in place at the national and local levels. corporal punishment; However, these still need to be strengthened • changes in adults’ behaviour and practice; to effectively address the issue of corporal • type and quality of programs and services; and punishment. To strengthen existing child protection • enforcement of laws and policies banning systems, there is a need to: corporal punishment. • set up processes for raising awareness among local officials on corporal punishment; Conclusion • organize support groups of adults; • build strong networks of response and Children are bearers of human rights from the referral to ensure access to programs and moment of their birth, and they are entitled to services for children; physical integrity and human dignity in the same • develop common standards of response way as adults. Children are human beings that are and support; and simply smaller and more fragile than adults.31 The • strengthen inter-agency and multi-sectoral UNCRC sees the child as a subject. He or she has coordination and collaboration. the right not only to schooling, health care, and an adequate standard of living, but also to be heard 3. Promote positive discipline and non-violent and have his or her views respected. child rearing • raise public awareness about children’s The UNCRC is clear about how parents and other rights and corporal punishment to adults guardians cannot do whatever they like to children. and children alike; • encourage media to promote non-violent values, and follow guidelines that protect the rights of the child in all media coverage; • conduct training on positive discipline in communities; and
  14. 14. 14 PLCPD POLICY BRIEF | Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law They are not allowed to beat up or use other children. Prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment methods of physical or psychological violence in law will set the standard. The best interest of the against children as a means of punishment or to child is the guiding principle in its implementation. “teach” them a certain behavior. Adults are protected against such ill-treatment. Of course, children should Thus, PLCPD supports the move towards law reform be as well. Only zero-tolerance is acceptable. made in the form of draft legislation that has been filed in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Prohibition of corporal punishment and other PLCPD hopes that the deliberation on the proposed cruel and degrading punishment of children is an bill will highlight the importance of the government obligation under international and regional human responding to treaty body recommendations and rights instruments. Children have a right to equal strongly recommend that the authors of the bill protection from assault under the law. Failure to introduce it as a matter of urgency to: enact legislation to achieve equal protection and that • prohibit corporal punishment of children in explicitly prohibits all forms of corporal punishment all settings, including in the home; represents a violation of this right, and allows the • include the prohibition of all corporal and near universal social acceptance and use of corporal degrading forms of punishment of children; punishment in childrearing to continue unchecked. • promote positive and non-violent discipline of children; and The proposed Anti-Corporal Punishment law will • provide budget allocation for the implementation prohibit all corporal punishment and other cruel of laws related to children’s rights. or degrading forms of punishment to protect the physical integrity and human dignity of Filipino Ending all forms of corporal punishment requires a children against abusive forms of discipline at combination of legal reform and public education. home, in schools and other institutional settings. Legal reform is essential to send clear messages Existing Philippine laws in restricting corporal that hitting or humiliating children is just as punishment do not cover the second category of unacceptable as hitting or humiliating anyone else. discipline: humiliating or degrading punishment. But legal reform will achieve little unless it is well publicized among children and adults and linked to The primary purpose of law reform is not to keep the promotion of positive, non-violent discipline. the courts busy prosecuting parents and causing Programs and materials need to be developed to disharmony within families, but to send a concrete give positive advice on effective ways of discipline message about the unacceptability of violence against to parents, teachers and others. Appendix States with Full Prohibition of Corporal Punishment In the following 23 states, children are protected by law from all forms of corporal punishment32 Costa Rica (2008) Spain (2007) Portugal (2007) Venezuela (2007) Uruguay (2007) Greece (2006) New Zealand (2007) Netherlands (2007) Ukraine (2004) Hungary (2005) Romania (2004) Israel (2000) Iceland (2003) Germany (2000) Latvia (1998) Bulgaria (2000) Croatia (1999) Austria (1989) Denmark (1997) Cyprus (1994) Sweden (1979) Norway (1987) Finland (1983) In addition, in Italy, the Supreme Court in Rome declared in 1996 all corporal punishment to be unlawful; this is not yet confirmed in legislation. In Nepal in 2005, the Supreme Court declared null and void the legal defense in the Child Act allowing parents, guardians, and teachers to administer a “minor beating”; the Child Act is yet to be amended to confirm this.
  15. 15. Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law | PLCPD POLICY BRIEF 15 Experiences of other Developing Countries Endtnotes There are few empirical studies of corporal 1 Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC General Comment No. 8 (2006): The Right of the Child to Protection from Corporal punishment in “Third World” countries and Punishment and Other Cruel or Degrading Forms of Punishment traditional societies. In a study in seven Latin (Arts. 19; 28, Para. 2; and 37, inter alia), 2 March 2007. CRC/C/ American cities and in Madrid, Spain, a smaller GC/8. Online. UNHCR Refworld, p. 4, (http://www.unhcr.org/ proportion of parents reported using spanking refworld/docid/460bc7772.html) 2 Ennew, J. & Plateau, D.P. (2004), How to research the physical and during the past month (24 percent of women emotional punishment of children, Bangkok, International Save the and 15 percent of men).33 Also, a study involving Children Alliance. (http://www.scslat.org/search/publieng.php?_ Hispanics in the US found a lower percentage of cod_92_lang_e) parents who practice physical punishment.34 In 3 De la Cruz, T. et al. (2001), Trust and power: Child abuse in the another study, with focus groups in Chile and Costa eyes of the child and the parent, UP-CIDS Psychosocial Trauma and Human Rights Program, Manila. Rica, 30 percent of parents report that children 4 Beazley, Harriot et al. (2005), Comparative research on physical should be hit sometimes or always when they and emotional punishment of children in Southeast Asia and misbehave.35 the Pacific 2005. Regional Protocol, Save the Children Sweden Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, p. 3. (http://www.violencestudy.org/IMG/pdf/220905-02.pdf ) In contrast, in a study in Jamaica, an average of 5 Save the Children-Sweden (Unpublished; 2005), Research on 60 percent of mothers believe in the practice and corporal punishment in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City and Cebu report using instruments to carry it out. About City, United Nations High Committee on the Rights of the Child 80 percent of mothers with preschool children (2007), Consideration of reports submitted by states parties under noted the use of instruments to beat their children. article 44 of the convention, Third and fourth periodic reports of States parties due in 2007, Philippines, para. 114, p. 37. ( The main offenses were disobedience, being http://www.humanrights.gov.ph/docs/CRC_3rd-4th-2007%20 disrespectful, not completing chores, crying too periodic%20reports.pdf ) much, and not finishing their food.36 In a recent 6 Beazley, H., S. Bessell (2006), et al., pp. 12-19. anonymous survey in Chile with over 500 parents 7 United Nations Children’s Fund (207), Philippines Sub-Regional Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2007 of school-age children, 80.4 percent of parents 8 Esteban, E. (2006), “Parental Verbal Abuse: Culture-Specific in public schools said they had practiced physical Coping Behavior of College Students in the Philippines.” Child punishment, but “only” for major transgressions Psychiatry and Human Development, Vol. 36, No. 3. (March (running away, poor school performance and 2006), pp. 243-259. defiance).37 This admission was more common 9 Global Initiative to End All corporal Punishment of Children and Save the Children Sweden (2003), Hitting people is wrong – and among parents of lower socioeconomic class. children are people too: A practical handbook for organizations and institutions challenging corporal punishment of children, p.21-22. An inquiry with school children from four (http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/pages/pdfs/hittingwrong. former “Eastern Bloc” countries, i.e., Latvia, pdf ) 10 Straus, M. (1994), cited in Debating Children’s Lives: Current Lithuania, Moldova and Macedonia (with around Controversies on Children and Adolescents, edited by Mary 300 children in each), found a prevalence of Ann Mason. and Eileen Gambrill, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage approximately 18 to 30 percent of reported Publications, p. 200. spanking and slapping. In a survey of school 11 Ibid. p. 201. children in Alexandria38, Egypt, 37.47 percent of 12 Adapted from Council of Europe, Abolishing corporal punishment. The key points. (http://www.coe.int/t/transversalprojects/children/pdf/ children reported that their parents spanked them triptyqueCP_en.pdf) or disciplined them physically. The main reasons 13 Convention on the Rights of the Child, art. 1. were lying to parents, poor school performance, 14 Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children being disrespectful, disobeying, and destroying (2008), Prohibiting corporal punishment of children: A guide to legal reform and other measures, General Comment No. 8, para. 3. other people’s property.39 15 Global Initiative to End All corporal Punishment of Children and Save the Children Sweden, 2008, Ending legalized These data suggest that overall, at least a third of violence against children, Global report 2008, p.1. (http://www. parents in many countries engage in the practice, endcorporalpunishment.org/pages/pdfs/reports/GlobalReport2008. and mainly when children are of school age. pdf ) 16 The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, art. XV, sec. 2. 17 Ibid., art. II, sec. 1.
  16. 16. 16 PLCPD POLICY BRIEF | Parenting Without Punishing: Anti-Corporal Punishment Law 18 Bernas, S.J., Joaquin G. (2003), The 1987 Constitution of 30 Rustemier, S. (2006), Corporal punishment of children vs. alternative the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary, Manila: Rex disciplinary approaches, Global Initiative to End All Corporal Bookstore, p. 79. Punishment of Children. (www.ispcan.org/documents/VID/ 19 Nery, et al., vs. Lorenzo, et al., G.R. No. L-23096.27, 27 April Corporal-punishment-position-paper.pdf ) 1972, cited in Save the Children UK (2006), Philippine Laws 31 Ennew, J. & Plateau, D.P. (2004), How to research the physical and Related to the Discipline and Punishment of Children, Quezon emotional punishment of children, Bangkok, International Save the City: Save the Children UK Philippines Programme, p. 20. Children Alliance. (http://www.scslat.org/search/publieng.php?_ 20 Republic Act No. 7610, An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence cod_92_lang_e) and Special protection against Child Abuse, Exploitation and 32 Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, States Discrimination, and for other Purposes, art. 1, sec. 2. with full abolition (http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/pages/ 21 United Nations High Committee on the Rights of the Child frame.html) (2007), Consideration of reports submitted by states parties under 33 Orpinas, P. (1999), Who is violent? Factors associated with aggressive article 44 of the convention, Third and fourth periodic reports of States behaviors in Latin America and Spain, Pan American Journal parties due in 2007, Philippines, para. 116, p. 37. ( http://www. of Public Health, vol. 5, pp. 232-244, cited in Maldonado, M humanrights.gov.ph/docs/CRC_3rd-4th-2007%20periodic%20 (20028), Cultural issue in the corporal punishment of children, reports.pdf ) Kansas Association for Infant Mental Health. (http://www.kaimh. 22 Save the Children UK Philippines Programme (2006), Philippine org/corporal.htm) Laws Related to the Discipline and Punishment of Children, 34 Hashima PY, Amato PR, (1994), Poverty, social support and parental Quezon City: Save the Children UK, p. 118. behavior, Child Development, vol. 65, pp. 394-403, cited in 23 Ibid., pp. 118-119. Maldonado M., ibid. 24 Department of Social Welfare and Development Administrative 35 Lopez-Stewart, C, George-Lara M, Herrera Amighetti LD, Order No. 141, Standards in the Implementation of Residential et al. (2000), Parenting and physical punishment: primary care Care Services, part III, sec. 1.4. interventions in Latin America, Pan American Journal of Public 25 Straus, M.A., Sugarman, D.B., & Giles-Sims, J. (1997). Spanking Health, vol. 8, pp. 257-267, cited in Maldonado M., ibid. by parents and subsequent anti-social behavior of children. Archives 36 Smith, DE and G. Mosby (2003), Jamaican child-rearing practices: of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 151, pp. 761-767. the role of corporal punishment, Adolescence, vol. 38, 369-381, cited 26 Durrant, J. E. (2007), Positive Discipline: What it is and how to in Maldonado M., ibid. do it (Primer), Bangkok, Save the Children Sweden Southeast 37 Vargas, NA, Lopez D, Perez P, et al., (1995), Parental attitude and Asia and the Pacific, p. 1. (http://seap.savethechildren.se/upload/ practice regarding physical punishment of school children in Santiago scs/SEAP/publication/publication%20pdf/violence/Positive%20 de Chile, Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 19, pp. 1077-1083. Discipline%20Summary%20Brochure.pdf ) 38 Sebre S, Sprugevica I, Novotni A, et al. (2004), Cross-cultural 27 Ibid. comparisons of child-reported emotional and physical abuse: rates, risk 28 Interview with Joan E. Durrant, Ph.D. (http://seap. factors and psychosocial symptoms, Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 28, savethechildren.se/upload/scs/SEAP/publication/publication%20 pp. 113–127, cited in Maldonado M., ibid. pdf/violence/Positive%20Discipline%20interview%20 39 Youseff RM, Medat Salah-El-Din A, Kamel MI (1998), Prevalence brochure24Aug07.pdf ) and determinants of corporal punishment in schools. Children 29 Kohlberg L. (1964), Development of moral character and moral Experiencing Violence (part 2), Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 22, ideology. In: Hoffman ML, Hoffman LW, eds. Review of Child pp. 975-986. Development Research, New York, NY: Russell-Sage Foundation; pp. 383–431 PEOPLE COUNT PLCPD POLICY BRIEF 2009 A publication of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) with support from the Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO). 2/F AVECSS Building, #90 Kamias Road. cor. K-J Street, East Kamias, Quezon City, 1102 Tel. nos.: (+632)925-1800 • (+632)436-2373 E-mail: plcpdfound@plcpd.org.ph Since 1989 Website: http://www.plcpd.org.ph Executive Director: Ramon San Pascual Editors: Ernesto Almocera, Romeo C. Dongeto, Ma. Cecilia de los Reyes PLCPD Philippine Legislators’ Committee Layout: Dodie Lucas on Population and Development Foundation, Inc.