Lagman bill to end child marriage in PH

By Mavic Conde


Albay Congressman Edcel Lagman is confident that child marriage will no longer exist in the Philippines once House Bill 9943, which prohibits the practice of child marriage in country becomes a law.


“Child brides will be relics of the past after the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading House Bill 9943, which prohibits the practice of child marriage and imposes penalties for violations thereof,” Lagman said.


According to Lagman, the Philippines ranked 10th at the United Nations World Population Prospect “with the highest absolute number of child marriages at 808,000 in 2019.”


Lagman said the country is in this adverse situation because of two reasons. One is due to the practice of child marriage by Filipino Muslims and indigenous peoples. Another is in the form of “co-habitations outside wedlock or illicit live-in unions involving adult men and young girls, which the bill now proscribes.”


The Albay lawmaker also enumerated the reasons child marriage is harmful, from invalidating marriage consent, violating children’s human rights,


compromising the child’s maternal health and the infant’s health, exposing to economic vulnerability, and perpetuating intergenerational poverty.


These adverse effects also happen in “co-habitations outside of wedlock between children, and between adult men and underage girls,” Lagman said. Hence, the concept of child marriage must be revised to include this, he added.


For Lagman, enactment of the enabling law is assured because the Senate has already approved its counterpart bill prohibiting child marriage.