Everything you need to know about the Anti-Child Marriage Law

June 28, 2022 - 4:01 PM
Illustration representing the Anti-Child Marriage law. (Interaksyon/Leira Aquino)

The Philippines has enacted a law banning the practice of child marriage in the country.

Republic Act No. 11596, also known as “An Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage and Imposing Penalties for Violations Thereof” was principally authored by Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

When the law was signed: It was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 10, 2021 and was publicly released by Malacanang on Jan. 6, 2022.

What the law is about: The Anti-Child Marriage Law is consistent with Section 13, Article II of the Philippine Constitution in which the state recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and promotes and protects their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being.

Child marriage refers to any marriage entered into where one or both parties are children and solemnized in civil or church proceedings, or in any recognized traditional, cultural, customary manner.

A child is any human being under the age of 18, or any person 18 years of age or over but who is unable to fully take care and protect oneself from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of mental disability or condition.

Penalty for violators

Under the Anti-Child Marriage Law, any person who causes, fixes, facilitates or arranges a child marriage shall suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its medium period and a fine not less than P40, 000.

If the perpetrator is an ascendant, parent, adoptive parent, step-parent, or guardian of the child, the penalty shall be prison mayor in its maximum period, a fine of not less than P50, 000 and perpetual loss of parental authority.

Furthermore, any person who produces, prints, issues and/or distributes fraudulent or tampered documents such as birth certificates, affidavits of delayed registration of birth and/or foundling certificates for the purpose of misrepresenting the age of a child to facilitate child marriage of evade liability under the act shall be liable.

If the perpetrator is a public officer, he or she shall be dismissed from service and may be perpetually disqualified from holding office, at the discretion of the courts.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development shall be the lead duty-bearer in the implementation of the act and in the formulation of such programs and services.

Resurfaced content on Facebook

Republic Act No. 11596 was signed into law last year but the Police Community Affairs and Development Group Zamboanga Peninsula reposted an article about it on their Facebook page, accompanied by a photo of Duterte, on June 14, 2022, a few days before Duterte’s term ends.

The post went viral–garnering 50,000 reactions, 4,000 comments, and 40,000 shares on Facebook. The same story was also reposted by other Facebook pages and vloggers.

Some Filipinos in the comment section thanked the outgoing president for the passage of the Anti-Child Marriage law.

“One of the best president[s] in the Philippines with words and actions. You’re a legend Mr. President Duterte,” a Filipino commented.

However, many pointed out the lack of mention of Hontiveros and Sen. Leila De Lima, who are the authors of the law.

“Ang haba ng caption, but the names of Hontiveros and De Lima were not even mentioned. Kalokohan ng page admin na ‘to. Stop credit-grabbing!” one Facebook user commented.

“uhm… the women did this : Senators Risa Hontiveros and Leila De Lima. It’s not that hard to give our senators a little credit,” stressed another online user.

The comment section was also filled with people expressing their gratitude to Hontiveros and De Lima despite not being credited in the post.

“Thank you Sen. Risa Hontiveros (Principal Author and Sponsor) and Sen. Leila De Lima (Co-Author) for championing this one!” a user commented.

“Thank you Sen. Risa Hontiveros and Sen. Leila De Lima for authoring the law!” another one said.

Authors of the Senate, House bills

Republic Act No. 11596 is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1373 and House Bill No.  9943.

Senate Bill No. 1373 was principally authored and sponsored by Sen. Risa Hontiveros and was co-authored by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Leila de Lima, Joel Villanueva, Imee Marcos, Sonny Angara and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

On the other hand, its counterpart measure, House Bill No. 9943, was introduced by the following representatives:

  • Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera-Dy
  • Edcel Lagman (Albay, 1st District)
  • Alfred Vargas (Quezon City, 5th District)
  • Josephine Lacson-Noel (Malabon)
  • Joy Myra Salvador-Tambunting (Parañaque City, 2nd District)
  • Lawrence Fortun (Agusan del Norte, 1st District)
  • Jocelyn Limkaichoing (Negros Oriental, 1st District)
  • Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba (Bukidnon, 1st District)
  • Domingo Rivera (Party List – CIBAC)
  • Eduardo Villanueva (Party List – CIBAC)
  • Geraldine Roman (Bataan, 1st District)
  • Yedda Marie Romualdez (Party List – TINGOG SINIRANGAN)
  • Rosanna Vergara (Nueva Ecija, 3rd District)
  • Ruth Mariano-Hernandez (Laguna, 2nd District)
  • Alyssa Sheena Tan (Isabela, 4th District)
  • Ma. Lucille Nava (Guimaras)
  • Ma. Lourdes Arroyo (Negros Occidental, 5th District)
  • Paz Radaza (Lapu-Lapu City)
  • Arlene Brosas (Party List – GABRIELA)
  • Irene Gay Saulog (Party List – KALINGA)
  • Sarah Jane Elago (Party List – KABATAAN)
  • Sol Aragones (Laguna, 3rd District)
  • Josefina Tallado (Camarines Norte, 1st District)
  • Julienne Baronda (Iloilo City)
  • Dahlia Loyola (Cavite, 5th District)