R.A. No. 11596 – Girls Not Bride Act
Article II, Section 13 of the 1987 Constitution recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and promotes and protects their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. In the pursuit of this policy, the State shall abolish all traditional and cultural practices and structures that perpetrate discrimination, abuse, and exploitation of children such as practice of child marriage.
The State affirms that marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of capacitated parties, and child betrothal and marriage shall have no legal effect. (Sec. 1, RA No. 11596)
Who is a “child”?
A child refers to a person under 18 years of age, 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 a physical or mental disability or condition. (Sec. 3(a), R.A. No. 11596)
What is child marriage?
This 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 or customary manner. It shall include an informal union or cohabitation outside of wedlock between an adult and a child, or between children. (Sec. 3(b), R.A. No. 11596)
What are considered unlawful and prohibited acts under this Act?
Section 4 of R.A. No. 11596 provides that the unlawful acts are as follows:
- Facilitation of Child Marriage.
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 of not less that ₱40,000.
- If done by 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 ₱50,000, and perpetual loss of parental authority.
- 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 the child to facilitate child marriage or evade liability under this Act shall be liable under this section, without prejudice to liability under other laws.
- If he a public officer, such person shall be dismissed from the service and may be perpetually disqualified from holding office.
2. Solemnization of Child Marriage.
Any person who performs of officiates a child marriage shall suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its maximum period, and a fine of not less than ₱50,000.
If he is a public officer, he shall be dismissed from the service and may be disqualified from holding office.
3. Cohabitation of an Adult with Child Outside Wedlock.
An adult partner who cohabits with a child outside wedlock shall suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its maximum period, and a fine of not less than ₱50,000.
If he is a public officer, he shall be dismissed from service and he may be disqualified from holding office.
What is the legal effect of child marriage?
Child marriage is void ab initio, or void from the beginning. The action or defense for declaration of nullity of marriage is imprescriptible. (Sec. 6, R.A. No. 11596)
Which of the government departments and agencies should implement the provisions of the Act immediately?
- Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
- Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC)
- Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
- Department of Education (DepEd)
- Department of Health (DOH)
- Supreme Court of the Philippines
- Philippine Commission on Women (PCW)
- Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
- National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF)
- National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP)
(Sec. 8, R.A. No. 11596)
Does this law apply to Filipino Muslims and Indigenous People?
Yes. However, this shall apply after one (1) year from the effectivity of the Act. The NCMP and NCIP will undertake measures and programs to assure full compliance with the Act. (Sec. 10, R.A. No. 11596)
During the transitory period, which provisions are not applicable to Muslim Filipinos and Indigenous People?
During the transition period of one (1) year, the application of Section 4(a) and (b), or the facilitation and solemnization of child marriage, respectively, and Section 5, or the declaration of such acts as public crimes, of the Act is suspended for Muslim Filipinos and Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples. (Sec. 11, R.A. No. 11596)