, Jan 6 () –
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ratified the bill that criminalizes child marriage in the country and includes penalties of up to twelve years in prison for those found guilty.
The Government has indicated that child marriage constitutes “child abuse because it degrades the dignity of minors”, according to information from the newspaper ‘Philippine Daily Inquirer’.
The project indicates that those parents or legal guardians who agree to marry the minors will lose custody. All these marriages will be immediately annulled. There are an estimated 726,000 underage brides in the Philippines, making it the 12th country with the most cases, according to the NGO Oxfám International.
This practice is more common in the southern region of Mindanao, where Muslims have more than one wife and girls as young as thirteen can marry. Furthermore, these cases are more common in the poorest areas and in those regions suffering from humanitarian crisis.
With this law, the Government seeks to “abolish the cultural structure and tradition that perpetuates these practices.”