A new law keeping Filipinos from becoming mail order brides was recently approved.

Also known as “Anti-Mail Order Bride Law”, the Republic Act 10906 or “An act providing stronger measures against unlawful practices, business, and schemes of matching and offering Filipinos to foreign nationals for purposes of marriage or common law partnership, repealing for the purpose republic act no. 6955” penalizes any person who has in any way engaged in business to exploit Filipinos to offer to foreigners for marriage.

The law specifically states in Section 3 that it is illegal for anyone to engage in the following: (a) business matching a Filipino to a foreigner for marriage or common law partnership on a mail-order basis, personal introduction, email, or websites on the internet; (b) exhibit, advertise, publish, print, or distribute, or cause the exhibition, advertisement, publication, printing, or distribution of brochures, flyers, or propaganda materials, which are calculated to promote the prohibited acts in the preceding paragraph, or to post, advertise, or upload such materials  through websites on the internet; (c) solicit, enlist, or in any manner, attract or induce any Filipino to become a member in any club or association whose objective is to match any Filipino nationals to foreign nationals for the purpose of marriage or common law partnership for a fee; and (d) to use the postal service or any website on the internet to promote the prohibited acts.

The Section 6 of the law clearly states that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall implement preventive, protective, and rehabilitative programs for victims of the unlawful acts and practices mentioned in Section 3.

Regional Director Minda B. Brigoli says that according to the law, the DSWD shall coordinate with the local government units (LGUs)  in providing case management service and developing a system for accreditation among non-government organizations (NGOs) for purposes of establishing centers and programs and interventions in various levels of the community.

“The agency shall also provide the following basic services to the victims: (1) temporary shelter or housing and food; (2) Psychological support and counselling; (3) Twenty-four (24)-hour call center for crisis calls and technology-based counselling and referral system; (4) Assistance in coordination with local law enforcement entities; and (5) Assistance in coordination with the Department of Justice, among others,” Brigoli adds.

Other agencies involved in the enactment of this law are DOJ, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), Commission of Filipino Overseas (CFO), LGUs, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and NGOs. ###(Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga)

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