Senator Risa Hontiveros sponsored Senate Bill 1373 or the “Girls not Brides Act” which seeks to certify child marriage as a public crime and entirely void in the Philippines.
(Senator Risa Hontiveros: ‘Trans Rights are Human Rights’)
Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, explained that the Philippines is the 12th country with the highest number of children below 18 years old married. There is an estimate of 726,000 children entering into marriage.
Child marriage is defined as “any marriage entered into where one or both parties are children as defined by the paragraph above and solemnized in civil or church proceedings, or in any recognized traditional, cultural or customary manner.”
Furthermore, the bill acknowledges child marriage as an act of child abuse since it “debases, degrades and demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of children.”
Those arranging or officiating child marriages face imprisonment of eight years and one day to ten years and a minimum P40,000 fine.
If an ascendant, stepparent or guardian fixes the child marriage, he or she will face ten to 12 years of imprisonment and a fine of not less than P50,000.
“At a time when we, together with the rest of the world, are slowly making headway in ensuring that young girls are protected and are able to reach their full potential as human beings, the existence of child marriages in our country negates these efforts,” Hontiveros stated.
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