House OKs on 2nd reading bill prohibiting child marriage
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved the bill prohibiting child marriage in the country on second reading Tuesday.
Via voice voting, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 9943, which seeks to eradicate “early, forced and arranged marriages to ensure that girls and boys experience healthier, safer and more empowered life transitions while in control of their own destiny.”
The measure defines “child marriage” as the formal marriage between children under 18 years of age and between an adult and a child which is considered a form of forced marriage given that one or both parties have not expressed full, free, and informed consent.
The bill also covers informal union or cohabitation outside of wedlock between an adult and a child or between children below 18 years of age.
The bill punishes any person who causes, fixes, facilitates or arranges a child marriage to suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its medium period or a fine of 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.
Meanwhile, those who perform or officiate a child marriage shall suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its maximum period and a fine of not less than P50,000 on top of perpetual disqualification from office if the person is a public officer.
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