Child’s rights group Save the Children Philippines has lauded the passage of Senate Bill 1373, the “Girls Not Brides Act” on second reading as it will help ensure that Filipino children get to enjoy a safe and nurturing childhood.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines, welcomed the “legislative victory” of the bill in the Senate.
The bill seeks to declare child marriages as illegal, and people who are involved – including family members – may face six to 12 years imprisonment as well as a fine of P40,000 to P50,000 should they facilitate and solemnize child marriages.
In preventing child marriages, Muyot said that girls are able to realize their rights and have opportunities to pursue the futures they choose.
“This bill protects Filipino girls from the harmful impacts that arise from child marriage and the resulting early pregnancy which puts the young mother at risk,” he said.
In the Philippines, 9.7 percent of girls who are aged 15 to 19 are already married or in some kind of union. Save the Children Philippines revealed that some of these arranged marriages are not even documented.
Child marriages are not only an issue in the Philippines, but also in other countries. The situation across the globe is even more alarming as girls as young as 10 are married off to much older men. Globally, records revealed that one girl under 15 years old is married off every 7 seconds.