The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday lauded the Senate approval of the measure seeking to raise the age for determining statutory rape from 12 years old to 16 years old.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, in a statement, said the measure would be a “great help” in protecting young persons from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.
“It is about time the law on rape be amended due to the changing times,” Eleazar said. “Any measure that will ensure the creation of a safer environment for children will always be supported by the police organization.”
As he expressed gratitude to the lawmakers over the bill’s passage at the Senate, Eleazar said it was necessary to have an urgent response for child sexual abuse.
At the PNP, the Women and Children Protection Office handles cases of all forms of abuse against minors.
Voting 22-0-1, the Senate passed on third and final reading Senate Bill 2332 or An Act Increasing the Age for Determining Statutory Rape and other Acts of Sexual Abuse and Exploitation to Protect Children.
The proposed measure seeks to amend Republic Act 3815, or the Revised Penal Code, and RA 7610, also known as the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act.
Under the bill, both men and women could be charged with statutory rape, regardless of the sexual orientation of the victims or the offenders.
The Philippines has the lowest age of sexual consent in Asia and one of the lowest in the world.
In a 2015 National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children, one in every five children in the Philippines in the age group of 13 to 17 said they experienced sexual violence while one in 25 suffered from forced consummated sex during childhood.