BARMM parliament balk from opposing law prohibiting child marriage

John Unson - Philstar.com
BARMM parliament balk from opposing law prohibiting child marriage
The Bangsamoro regional capitol in Cotabato City.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Certain Bangsamoro parliament members deferred their plan to urge President Rodrigo Duterte to veto Republic Act 11596 that outlawed child marriage due its ramifications on centuries-old traditions.

Regional Labor and Employment Minister Romeo Sema of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said Saturday the move was deferred, but did not elaborate.

President Duterte signed RA 11596 last Dec. 10, 2021.

Radio reports here last week stated that certain members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), more known as the region’s interim parliament, had proposed a resolution urging President Duterte to veto the RA11596, but that the plan did not push through as mulled.

“Our Darul Iftah can best talk on that anti-child marriage law,” Sema, also a member of the 80-seat regional parliament, said.  

The Darul Iftah, also known as the “House of Opinions,” is a collegial bloc of Islamic missionaries, among them graduates of religious schools in the Middle East and North Africa.

Darul Iftah’s present figurehead, Sheik Abu Huraira Udasan, studied Islamic theology at the Al-Azzar University in Cairo, Egypt.

Cultural and religious norms allow marriages among Muslims once in age of puberty.

“Personally, for me, the issue is best addressed via dialogues,” Sema said.

Sema said the BTA is an interactive bloc where members talk about the context and intricacies of proposed resolutions first before approving any.  

The BARMM covers Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces where Muslims comprise a majority.


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