Bicam okays bill raising statutory rape age to 16


The congressional bicameral committee on Wednesday approved the bill raising the age of statutory rape from below 12 years old to 16 years old.

In a news statement, Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas described the bicameral approval as a historical advance in the crusade for women and children’s rights.

“This is one big leap for Filipino children’s rights, as the Philippines will no longer be the country with the lowest age of statutory rape in Asia,” she said.

“Finally, the decades-old loophole in the law will be addressed, and we are one step away from adhering to our commitments to international conventions on women and children’s rights,” added Brosas.

She said this development also perfectly fits the country’s celebration of Children’s Month this November, and the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) on Thursday, November 25, 2021 (today).

The Gabriela Party-list lawmaker said they would continue pushing for the other amendments to the Anti-Rape law, which were not tackled by the bicameral panel, including broadening the definition of rape and the presumption of lack of consent in all cases of rape.

For her part, House Committee on Welfare of Children Chairman Yedda Marie K. Romualdez said the proposal sets the age of sexual consent to below 16 years old from 12 years old below, regardless of sexual orientation of the offenders and victims, and amends the 23-year-old Anti-Rape Law, as well as the Revised Penal Code.

“Child rape is an ugly and painful reality that we must collectively confront and address immediately and decisively. But it is not enough that we are indignant,” said Romualdez, adding, “Our indignation must translate into action, and concrete measures to stop it.”

She added that the establishment of a minimum age of sexual consent is the most important and critical criteria in protecting minors from sexual violence since the present Anti-Rape law establishes the age of sexual consent at 12 years.

If passed into law, any adult who has sexual intercourse with a minor below 16 years old will be guilty of rape even if the minor has given his or her consent to the sexual act.

A penalty of life imprisonment will also be imposed against the offenders under the measure. 30 2015 report released by UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Region.

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