/ 27 August 2021

SENATE Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri urged his fellow senators to immediately pass Senate Bill 2332 that will amend the Revised Penal Code to raise the age of sexual consent from 12 years old to 16.

The bill also aims to change the language of the law to reflect that rape is committed “by a person against any person,” instead of the previous “by a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman.”

Zubiri stressed that the Philippines has the lowest age of consent for sexual acts among the countries in Asia, and one of the lowest in the world at 12 years old, only bested by Niger at age 11.

The senator also cited World Bank data showing that the Philippines has forty-seven births annually per one thousand young women aged 15 to 19, higher than the average adolescent birth rates of forty-four per one thousand young women globally, and thirty-three in the ASEAN region.

“Parang normal na lang na makakita ka ng mga batang ina, mga teenager na may hawak na bata na aakalain mo kapatid ang inaalagaan pero anak na pala nila,” he said.

“’Yung imbes na naglalaro, nag-aaral, o nangangarap sa kanilang kinabukasan, eh ayan at nag-aalaga na ng sarili nilang anak sa edad na 14 o 15,” he added.

“This bill is our humble contribution in protecting our children, and ensuring a safer environment for them so that they will enjoy their youth free from such tragic and horrible incidents. It may be a small step in our criminal justice system, but it is a great leap in the protection of our children, the future of this country,” Zubiri said.