Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima was elated over the recent passage into law of a bill that will end the practice of child marriage in the Philippines.
De Lima, co-author of the anti-child marriage bill at the Senate, said that Republic Act (RA) No. 11596, or An Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage and Imposing Penalties for Violations Thereof, is a move that will help build better future for children who now have the freedom to decide their paths in life.
“With the passage of the law against child marriage, children, particularly young girls, now have hope for a future of their own choosing. With this new law, it is hoped that they will grow into strong, unshackled and fulfilled persons in their own right, who will fight for their rights and the rights of others,” she said.
“We will continue to ensure that the victories we gain will not be diminished by deeply-seated misogyny and the unjust social structures that deprive many children, especially young girls and women of the right to live their life in freedom and dignity,” she added.
Last Jan. 6, Malacañang reportedly released a copy of RA No. 11596 as signed by President Duterte on December 10, 2021.
The law defines child marriage as any marriage entered into where one or both parties are children (under 18 years of age), and solemnized in civil or church proceedings, or in any recognized traditional, cultural, or customary manner. It shall include an informal or cohabitation outside of wedlock between an adult and a child, or between children.
“The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building and shall therefore protect and promote their empowerment. This entails the abolition of the unequal structures and practices that perpetuate discrimination and inequality,” RA 11596 read.
De Lima, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said the new law reminds children, especially young girls, that there are other options and opportunities awaiting them.
“Tulad ng lagi nating sinasabi, ‘minsan lang sila bata.’ Huwag nating ipagkait ang kanilang mga karapatan. Obligasyon ng Estado, ng mga magulang at nating mga nakatatanda na gabayan sila, bigyang lakas at kakayahan para panghawakan at hubugin ang kanilang kinabukasan,” she said. (30)