/ 17 January 2022

THE DEPARTMENT of Social Welfare and Development commended President Rodrigo Duterte for signing a bill that seeks to ban child marriage into law.

Republic Act 11596 or “An Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage,” which was signed by Duterte last Dec. 10, criminalizes the union of an adult with a minor.

The DSWD described the move as a “positive development” in ensuring that children are accorded the protection and development that they need.

“Regardless of practices, traditions, and culture, the Department stated that the best interest of the child is the prime consideration,” the agency said.

“The DSWD will focus on creating appropriate programs that will address the prevalence of child marriage and interventions for the victims of arranged child marriages and their children if any,” it added.

The DSWD, in coordination with the Department of Health, Department of Education, Council for the Welfare of Children, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and representatives of civil society organizations representing the different sectors, will draft the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations.

“Moreover, while spearheading the crafting of the IRR to effect the implementation of the law, DSWD commits to ensure the best interest of the children through its existing programs and interventions for children in need of special protection,” the department said.