/ 7 January 2022

GABRIELA Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas welcomed the enactment into law of the measure banning child marriage.

Brosas described this as a major step forward in ensuring stronger protection of children from sexual abuse and effects of early marriage.

“This is a historic step towards the criminalization of child marriage, which has trapped several Filipino girls into unwanted and early child-bearing and child-rearing responsibilities and even into cycles of abuse. Pagpapalakas ito ng proteksyon sa kabataang kababaihan mula sa abuso,” Brosas said.

“The legislation’s approval also comes at a time when teenage pregnancy in the country is on an alarming rise amid the pandemic, with a child as young as 10 giving birth. We really need to step in and stop the trend while we seek to strengthen protective and support services for children,” she added.

Under the law, facilitation and solemnization of child marriage will be considered a public crime, as well as cohabitation of adults with children.

The law affords a transitory period of one year, wherein the penalty provisions of the law will be suspended only for Muslim and IP communities.

Brosas, who co-authored the measure, also lauded the efforts of advocacy groups who lobbied hard for the passage of the landmark law.

“Tagumpay ito ng lahat ng advocacy groups at organizations na nagtataguyod ng karapatan ng kababaihan at bata na mapagpasiyang itinulak ang child marriage ban sa bansa,” she said.

According to the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development, one in six Filipino girls get married before reaching the age of 18.

The Philippines ranks 10th worldwide in terms of absolute number of child marriages and unions.