(Speech of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman during the Roundtable Discussion on Policy Reform to End Child, Early and Forced Marriages on 07 March 2018 at the House of Representatives)
Child, early and forced marriages (CEFMs) seem to be practices that hark back to the Dark Ages or a plot in a tearjerker telenovela. The archaic image of the innocent and ill-fated child bride is one that is readily associated with primitive tribes or nations in Africa or South Asia, not with a country like the Philippines – a country that has consistently performed very well in gender surveys and ranked high in global assessments measuring indicators of women empowerment.
But the scourge of CEFMs is not restricted to soap operas and countries like India and tribes like the Masai in Kenya. There are child brides in the Philippines. It is happening in our country and the numbers are alarming.