/ 27 November 2020

A CHILD rights group lauded the House of Representatives for passing a bill that seeks to increase the age of statutory rape on second reading.

Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines, said the measure, if passed into law, will further protect children.

“We welcome this legislative victory as we celebrate the National Children’s Month and International Day for Prevention of Violence on Women and Girls that will strengthen the protection of children from abuse and exploitation, and at the same time, recognize the rights of adolescents to health and development,” Muyot said.

HB 7836 titled “An Act Providing for Stronger Protection Against Rape and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Increasing the Age for Determining the Commission of Statutory Rape” seeks to increase the age of sexual consent from 12 to 16 years.

The country’s anti-rape law signed in 1997 considers sexual intercourse with a child below 12 years of age as statutory rape, the lowest in Southeast Asia.

Save the Children Philippines has sought the passage of the bill to protect children from all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation.

The measure adheres to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that guarantees the rights of children and young people to be protected from sexual abuse.