/ 22 September 2021

GABRIELA Women’s  Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas urged the Senate to speed up the passage of the end child rape bill, as women and children have become increasingly vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation during the pandemic.

Brosas is one of the principal authors of House Bill 7836 or An Act Providing Stronger Protection Against Rape and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

“Amendments to the 1997 Anti-Rape Law are urgently needed to plug its loopholes and to give victims a fighting chance to achieve the justice they deserve. For one, we need to raise the age of sexual consent from 12 to 16,” Brosas said.

“We also need to introduce the lack of consent in the determination of rape, not just the use of force, threat, intimidation, and fraudulent machinations. This loophole has been abused repeatedly by perpetrators to get away from their crimes,” she added.

The Anti-Rape Law requires the use of force, threat, intimidation, fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority by the offender before the act can be considered as rape.

The lawmaker noted that the age of consent in the Philippines — 12 —  is one of the lowest in the world.

“This low age to determine statutory rape had long been exploited by rapists to groom their victims and justify their heinous crimes against minors,” the lawmaker stressed.

“Victims of rape who would want to seek justice through the judicial system must be given ample remedies under the law. We call on our counterparts in the Senate to immediately pass this bill to hold the sexual offenders accountable,” Brosas said.