GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 13 - Population officials in South Cotabato have expressed alarm over the rising number of early marriages in the province in the last five years.
Floyd Maglangit, adolescent development program chief of the Provincial Population Office (PPO), said that in the provinces 10 municipalities, the number of early marriages were recorded at 1,881 cases last year, or 26.73 percent higher from the 1,487 cases recorded in 2006.
He said the most number of early marriages were recorded in 2009 with 2,261 cases or an increase of 27.2 percent from the previous year.
Maglangit said early marriages mainly involve couples who are aged below the required marrying age of 21.
This is quite alarming because these marriages involve couples who barely know anything about married life and lack sufficient means of livelihood, he said.
Maglangit said they recorded cases of marriages in some tribal communities in the province that involved teenage couples or only aged 11 to 17 years-old.
In 2010, he said some 290 teenagers got married and at least 211 cases of early pregnancies were recorded.
Maglangit said their records showed that more women marry at an early age compared to their male counterparts.
We really need to address this problem because of the underlying social problems that goes with it, especially in delivery of basic services, he added. (PNA)