In the Philippines, the age of sexual consent went from 12 to 16 years old, a decision hailed as historic by child rights advocates since it will better protect children against sexual crimes.
“Rape is a very violent crime, especially when performed against a minor. It is important that we amend the old law,” says Senator Richard Gordon, the man heading the senate committee on justice and human rights. “That’s why we’re having a legislative reform on rape, especially for the protection of our girls and boys. Congress must uphold the right of every child to freedom from sexual exploitation.”
After more than 90 years in place – according to Child Rights Network, a nationwide alliance of children’s rights groups – the law regarding statutory rape has been amended to protect children and teens up until they are 16 years old, and not only those who are 12 and under. Another change: both men and women can now be charged with statutory rape. “This is as much a victory for our children as it is a victory for all advocates, civil society organizations, women’s rights groups, and concerned parents and individuals who are committed to protect and defend every Filipino child,” says Senator Risa Hontiveros, one of the authors of the bill.