Anti-child marriage bill signed into law

The landmark measure that seeks to ban child marriage in the Philippines has been signed into law by President Duterte.

(Charles Deluvio/ Unsplash)

A copy of the five-page measure, designated as Republic Act (RA) No.11596, was sent to Malacañang reporters Thursday afternoon, Jan. 6. Duterte signed it last Dec. 10.

The full title of the new law reads, "An act prohibiting the practice of child marriage and imposing penalties for violations thereof."

An enrolled copy of the proposed statute was transmitted to Malacañang in November 2021 upon ratification by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, which are the two chambers of Philippine Congress.

RA No.11596 declares child marriage as illegal and imposes penalties against violators. Proponents of the law, like House Deputy Speaker and Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera, view child marriage as a form of violence against children.

Under the anti-child marriage law, the solemnization of child marriage and cohabitation of an adult with a child outside wedlock are considered unlawful acts.

A fine of at least P40,000 and jail term of up to 12 years await solemnizing officers, parents, guardians, or adults who fixed, facilitated, or arranged child marriage.

Herrera said in a statement that the bill had lapsed into law, but this wasn't the case.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the President has 30 days to either sign or veto a bill transmitted to his office. If he or she does not act on the measure within 30 days, the bill would lapse into law or get enacted by default.