Press Release
July 17, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 560:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the spike of underage marriages in Marawi

I'm deeply concerned over a recent report by Deutsche Welle (DW) published last July 12 about the increasing number of underage marriages - some even as young as nine years old - in Marawi City after the siege by terrorist groups more than two years ago.

Though child marriage exists under Islamic traditions, I share the same concerns of humanitarian aid workers on the ground that these underage marriages undoubtedly resulted from the conflict and chaos that has left many parents resigned to the idea that there is no other choice but to marry off their young daughters.

From having difficulties to observe the Muslim tradition of segregating young girls and boys in evacuation centers, to a sense of insecurity after witnessing the horrors of a five-month battle that has claimed thousands of lives and left over 400,000 homeless, the government should address the core challenges of poverty and displacement in conflict-ridden areas.

Ito nga po ang kinahihinatnan ng karahasan, lalo na ng maling pamamalakad ng isang gobyerno na walang pakundangan sa paghihirap ng mga biktima ng kaguluhan. Imbes na pabilisin ng gobyerno ang proseso ng rehabilitasyon sa Marawi, si Duterte pa mismo ang nagsabing ipapaubaya na lang niya sa iba ang pagpondo rito.

As conscientious citizens and public servants, what is expected of us is to help and encourage our children to build better futures by showing them there are other options and opportunities awaiting them.

Ika nga, "minsan lang sila bata." Hangad at dalangin natin na mas mapanghawakan nila ang kanilang kinabukasan; na magabayan sila sa tamang landas, at sa mga pagpapasyang makatarungan para sa kanila.

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