Sat. May 8th, 2021

A group of child right advocates has praised Congress for passing on second reading a proposed measure in Congress that seeks to provide stronger protection against victims of rape, acts of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and increasing the age for determining commission of statutory rape.

The Child Rights Network (CRN) said they backed House Bill (HB) 7836 on its second reading before the House of Representatives. The proposed law increases the age for the determination of statutory rape from below 12 to below 16.

“We note with distinction how auspicious the timing of the passage of HB 7836 was, as it passed on November 25, in time for the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and also coinciding with the celebration of the National Children’s Month,” the group said in a statement.

During deliberations in the House, the CRN said the “forgiveness exemption” was also removed, or a provision that allows the dismissal of rape charges if the rapist marries the victim.

“These key provisions were crafted with the help of various child development experts, and inputs from national consultations with children, youth, sexual abuse survivors, psychologists, family court judges, government agencies, and civil society organizations – clearly legislation that came from the grassroots,” the CRN said. SOVEREIGNPH

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