NO TO CHILD MARRIAGE. Dr. Ma. Crisel Quibel-Inocando, a researcher and educator based in Maasin City, paid a courtesy visit to Southern Leyte Vice Governor Rosa Emilia Mercado at the Southern Leyte Provincial Capitol in Maasin on March 25, 2024, to discuss plans for the establishment of a No to Child Marriage Non-Governmental Organization. (Contributed photo)

TACLOBAN CITY– A researcher and educator based in Maasin City has pushed for the establishment of a “No to Child Marriage Non-Governmental Organization (NGO),” considering that there are still communities in the Philippines that are practicing child marriage despite the passing of the Republic Act (RA) 11596 or otherwise known as An Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage.

“The No to Child Marriage NGO will act as the law’s umbrella to give aid and support to the victims, will provide shelter to the victims, and give the latter access to legal services, health services, psychosocial services, counseling, educational, livelihood and skills development,” said Dr. Ma. Crisel Quibel-Inocando, who is also a certified public accountant and a third-year law student at the College of Maasin in Southern Leyte province.

“The NGO is forward-looking that if it becomes fully operational it will have a strong influence in ending the dehumanizing effect of child marriage and will eventually end the practice of child marriage across the world,” she added.

Citing a 2021 study, Quibel-Inocando said that teenage pregnancies and child marriage “are among the pressing concerns the country is currently facing.”

In 2020 alone, more than 102,000 teens aged 15 and above gave birth, including an additional 18,000 due to almost 10 months of community quarantine amid the pandemic, according to her.

“This compares to the estimate without community quarantine of 84,000, according to a study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund,” she added.

The proposed NGO is the output of Quibel-Inocando’s research entitled “Child Marriage, Republic Act 11596, and the Impact on Child’s Normal Development, Religion, and the Country’s Economy,” which she conducted from February to May 2023.

She also lauded the support of Dr. Beverly Fernandez, the dean of Teacher Education at Saint Joseph College, in the conduct of her research.

Quibel-Inocando’s research was also accepted for presentation at an International Academic Research Conference by West East Institute (WEI), in Harvard Faculty Club, Harvard University, Boston U.S.A. on July 25 to 27, 2023.