Bishop backs bill criminalizing child marriage

Bishop backs bill criminalizing child marriage

Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon of Daet, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth. PHOTO BY NICO BALBEDINA

By CBCP News

November 10, 2020

Manila, Philippines

The youth apostolate head of the bishops’ conference is supporting a measure declaring child marriages as illegal.

Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon of Daet, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth, said that it is “a sad reality” that children, especially girls, are exploited and abused.

“I personally welcome and am happy to note the resolve to protect children and their dignity,” Alarcon said.

“The society must protect its most vulnerable from those who exploit them,” he said.

Child marriage in the country takes a step closer to becoming illegal with the Senate approving on third and final reading a bill that would criminalize it.

In a unanimous vote, senators passed Senate Bill No. 1373 or the “Girls not Brides Act” that bans child marriage before the age of 18.

The prelate expressed hope that the measure is also to safeguard the sanctity of marriage and family.

According to him, marriage and raising a family are for adults as it is a “serious responsibility”.

“It is not for children. Even our church law stipulates marriage for adults,” Alarcon pointed out.

“The desire to protect children, boys and girls, and their rights and safeguard the sanctity of marriage and family is crucial and necessary for authentic development of a community, society,” he said.

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