Expedite work on anti-child marriage bills, Solon urges House leaders | Inquirer News
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Expedite work on anti-child marriage bills, Solon urges House leaders

/ 06:17 PM November 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera urged House leaders on Wednesday to expedite work on three bills against child marriage that are still pending in the lower chamber.

Herrera made the call after the Senate approved a measure declaring child marriages as illegal.

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“I ask the House Committee on the Welfare of Children and our House leaders to expedite work on consolidating the three House bills against child marriage, so that a bicameral conference committee can be convened with our Senate counterparts as soon as the House approves the substitute bill,” Herrera, who filed one of the pending House bills against child marriage, said in a statement.

Herrera’s House Bill No. 1486 seeks to declare all child marriages as illegal from the very beginning or ab initio.

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“What this means is child marriages done before the bills take effect as a law are invalid, so the women in those marriages can be set free,” Herrera said.

Citing data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Herrera said nine out of 10 adolescent births are vulnerable to pregnancy-related complications which are among the leading causes of death among adolescent girls aged 15 to 19.

“Child marriage is a fundamental human rights violation which has negative impacts on girls’ health and development. It denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk of violence and abuse, and poses risks to her health,” Herrera said.

“Child marriage also denies both girls and boys the right to choose when and whom to marry, a decision that should be made freely,” the lawmaker added. — with report from Miguel Dumlao

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