/ 7 August 2021

SENATOR Joel Villanueva has filed a bill raising the age of sexual consent from 12 years old to 18.

Senate Bill 2345 seeks to amend Article 266-A of Act No. 3815 of the Revised Penal Code.

Villanueva filed the measure while the Senate is deliberating Senate Bill 2332 seeking to increase the age of determining statutory rape and other acts of sexual abuse and exploitation from 12 years old to 16.

“Rape takes physical, social, emotional, and psychological tolls on the victims, and the offense is particularly damaging if the victim is a minor,” Villanueva said.

“Unfortunately, the Philippines ranks second with the lowest age of sexual consent, beating only Nigeria, which set the age of consent at 11 years old in 2015. The age of sexual consent around the world ranges from 11 to 21 years of age,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that his bill seeks to remedy the loophole in the Revised Penal Code to construe any sexual advantage committeed against any Filipino youth below 18 years of age as statutory rape.

Villanueva believes that the amendment wil create a policy framework to protect children from rape and sexual violence, ensure justice for rape victims, address teen prostitution, and expand the scope of prohibited sexual relations with a minor.

“Pedophiles, sex predators, and human traffickers can easily take sexual advantage of young Fiipinos aged 12 to 17,” the senator said.

Data from the Center for Women’s Resources showed a 92 percent increase in rape cases from 2010 to 2014 and 200 percent hike in cases of Violence Against Women and Children from 2010 to 2014.