Advocates eye swift passage of bill raising statutory rape age to 16
MANILA – Advocates of a bill raising the age for statutory rape in the Philippines are hoping that the measurel would be passed into law by the end of the year.
The bill raising the age for statutory rape from 12 to 16 is now up for plenary debates in the Senate, after Senator Richard Gordon endorsed it on Wednesday.
Nitz Dalde of advocacy group Child Rights Network said Thursday it is important that the bill be passed right away, noting that the Philippines has one of the lowest ages for sexual consent in the world.
"Tayo ang pinakamababa sa buong Asia, at pangalawa tayo sa pinakamababa sa buong mundo. Niger lang yung tumalo sa'tin because they have 11," she said.
"Bawat araw na nade-delay ‘tong batas na ‘to, meron tayong mga rape cases na hindi natin maa-address," she added.
Dalde noted that the version of the bill headed for Senate approval aims to provide equal protection for boys and girls who experience sexual violence.
She noted that rape by sexual assualt--the case usually filed against those who allegedly rape boys--carries only a punishment of maximum 20 years.
“Sa ngayon kasi, ang penalty natin distinguishes talaga if the crime is committed against a boy. Hanggang rape by sexual assault lang siya, which the penalty, if I’m remembering it right, 20 years ang maximum na imprisonment. But if the victim is a girl or a minor, yung penalty natin ay reclusion perpetua.”
“Ang laki ng difference. But if you compare their trauma, pareho lang,” she explained.
Dalde is optimistic that the bill will be passed into law by the end of the year as Christmas gift to the country’s children.
“This setting is different from previous years kasi 2008 pa ito naka-file. Ngayon, lahat supportive. Wala kami na-map na against. It’s just a matter of determining the age--which will it be, 15 or 16?” she said.
--ANC, 26 August 2021