By: The Negros Times
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on March 4, 2022 has signed into law a bill raising the age of sexual consent for minors from 12 to 16. The Philippines' minimum age of sexual consent was previously reported to be the lowest in Asia and one of the lowest in the world after Nigeria, which is 11 years old according to United Nations Children's Fund or UNICEF.
The United Nations (UN) Philippines last year urged Congress to raise the age of statutory rape from under 12 years old to under 16 years old.
“The UN has long voiced concerns about the alarmingly low age of sexual consent in the Philippines,” said UN resident and humanitarian coordinator Gustavo GonzAlez in a statement issued in July 2021.
Gonzalez cited the 2015 National Baseline Study on Abuse Against Minors, which found that one in every five children in the Philippines aged 13 to 17 had experienced sexual violence, and one in every 25 had forced consummated sexual intercourse as a child. Senate Bill No. 2332 and House Bill No. 7836, which were passed on December 15, 2021 and December 14, 2021, respectively, have been combined into the new law. The Revised Penal Code (RA 3815) or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act (RA 7610) are amended by Republic Act (RA) No. 116481. To provide better protection for young people against sexual exploitation and abuse, the law raised the age for determining statutory rape to 16 years old. R.A. 116481 also requires the Department of Education (DepEd) to include age-appropriate subjects in the basic education curriculum and to teach them about children's rights and protection in relation to the law. A copy of the new signed law in its entirety can be found below: