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Positive Discipline: A Better Way of Learning

Ghene, a 16 year old youth advocate for Plan International Philippines, delivered a powerful speech in favour of the adoption of a Positive Discipline Bill at the House of Representatives' Committee on the Welfare of Children, as part of a project funded by the European Commission.

Ghene speaks at the House of Representatives' Committee on the Welfare of Children in favour of the Positive Discipline bill.
Ghene speaks at the House of Representatives' Committee on the Welfare of Children in favour of the Positive Discipline bill.

Under the project, Ghene was part of the community-based advocacy and monitoring group. Her family and community were also beneficiaries of the project. As a result of the project in the province, the local government unit of Ifugao established a program on positive discipline. Schools in the community, through the memorandum of the Department of Education Division of Ifugao, are implementing and promoting positive discipline.

In her speech, delivered at the hearing on 30 January 2017, Ghene explains how the project changed her community and family for the better and urges lawmakers to adopt the Positive Discipline bill.

Ghene's speech

I am Ghene from Ifugao. Allow me to share about my neighbours. I remember always playing with them. It’s sad to think that now they grew up with vices, and many of them have stopped going to school. I witnessed how their parents humiliated or hit them in front of me for not doing the household chores.

In my family, I saw the value of positive discipline. Before, my parents would hit me if I did something wrong. They would get mad at me, but when a Positive Discipline project was introduced in Ifugao many changes happened in my family. That is now also the form of discipline my parents practice to my siblings.

Every time I’ve done something wrong, instead of humiliating and insulting me, my parents would explain to me the value of having a good behaviour and tell me what I had done wrong. I learn better that way.

When our community became a part of the project, cases of crimes, involvement of children in crimes and abuses decreased.

In Ifugao, corporal punishment is seen as the only way to discipline children. But this has become the reason for children to be rebellious.

As a child, I have rights. Philippines signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Therefore, the government has an obligation to initiate programs and implement laws that would support our rights.

You are the pillars of this country. You enact the laws. In you lies the hope of every Filipino child, every family and every parent.

Ghene speaks at the House of Representatives' Committee on the Welfare of Children in favour of the Positive Discipline bill.
"We all have the same dream—to live in a country that would defend our rights and protect us from violence", Ghene says.

Let me share with you my dream - our dream. Every child you see on the street, the child you see loitering and not in school, we share the same dream. Your children, your nieces and nephews, we all have the same dream - to live in a country that would defend our rights and protect us from violence. That is our dream, and we are asking for your support.

I am Ghene. I support this bill, and I hope you will too because our hope that this bill will be passed lies in you.

I have written a poem, and I dedicate this you:

The Joyful

For we have our children,
Born of the sun
The joy apart from sorrows, the symbol of life
They smile with colors of hope for a peaceful future
They are young and beautiful, little children of life
You were once children too, you cried and you laughed
Now you see them stay at the corners and they sob
What will you do? They are asking for your help.
Will you remain silent too?
Like the years that passed?

That’s all. Thank you very much.

Following her speech, the Committee decided to approve the House Bill 516 or "An Act Promoting Positive Discipline of Children and Appropriating Funds Therefor". It will then be presented to the plenary for deliberation. When enacted into a law, it will institutionalise programs and services promoting positive discipline and prohibit corporal punishment.