MANILA Senator Nancy Binay is convinced that the age of consent in the country should be raised to 16 years old from the present 12, following reports of alleged rape of a 15-year-old by a policeman.
In July, Binay filed Senate Bill 1895 which aims to make 16 years old the minimum age to determine statutory rape for children in the country, up from under 12 years specified in the Revised Penal Code.
Binay said the measure is still in the committee level, adding that she will ask the legislative commitment of fellow senators to fast-track its passage.
"Isa ang Pilipinas sa may pinakamababang (The Philippines is one of the countries with the lowest) age of consent, which is presently set at 12 years old. Sa ngayon (Now), our anti-rape law says it will only be considered statutory rape if the child is below 12 years old or is mentally challenged. Bilang mga magulang (As parents), it is our commitment to protect our children from sexual predators," Binay said in a news release Monday.
The 15-year-old girl, whose parents were apprehended for alleged illegal drug trade in Manila over the weekend, said she was raped in exchange for the freedom of her parents who were facing drug charges. A rookie cop, together with two other men, forced the girl to drink beer before she was raped.
"Ginagamit po ng ilan ang mababang age of consent na ito upang takasan o lusutan ang mas mataas na penalties from their crimes against children (Some are using this low age of consent to prevent or escape higher penalties from their crimes against children)," she added.
Binay said increasing the age of consent can prevent more cases of violence against children.
"Magiging liable for statutory rape na ang taong nagkaroon ng sexual relations or intercourse sa isang menor na below 16 years old kung itataas natin ang age of consent (They will be liable for statutory rape if they have sexual relations or intercourse with a minor below 16 years old if we raise the age of consent)," Binay said.
According to the National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children, released in 2016, one of five children below 18 have experienced being sexually violated.
Binay said according to the United Nations Development Program, up to 7 in 10 women around the world experience physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.
"Increasing the age of consent will provide greater protection to our children, and safeguard them from various forms of violence," she added.
The legislator also said under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, governments should protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.
"It is also in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal number 5, which aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and children, including trafficking, sexual, and other forms of exploitation," Binay said. (Senate PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency