Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte today signed a law raising the minimum age for sex from 12 to 16 to protect minors.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), before the new law was passed, the Philippines was one of the countries with the lowest minimum age for sex in the world, after Nigeria at 11 years old.
A joint 2015 study by UNICEF and the Philippine NGO Women’s Resource Center found that 7 in 10 rape victims in the Philippines are children.
One in five respondents between the ages of 13 and 17 said they had experienced sexual violence, and one in five said they had been forced to have sex during childhood, the study found.
Under a new law passed by President Rodrigo Duterte, any adult who engages in sex with a child 16 or younger is guilty of rape, unless the age difference between them is three years or more. down and having sex has been shown to be consensual, and neither is being abused or exploited. The waivers do not apply if one of the persons involved is under the age of 13.
“We welcome this legal development and hope it will help protect girls from rape and sexual abuse,” said Joselee Deinla, a spokeswoman for the National People’s Lawyers Union, an organization legal aid organization for the poor and disadvantaged in the Philippines, said.
Activists in the Philippines have been fighting to raise the age for consensual sex since the 1980s. Critics say the old law protects ill-wishers, because they may require it. victim consent, and children under 12 are often easily coerced or threatened to silence them.
The old age threshold is also believed to contribute to the problem of prostitution and teenage pregnancy in the Philippines. Even so, this law has remained in place for the past 91 years.
In a statement released today, UNICEF hailed it as a “legislative milestone”, “an important step towards realizing the right of children to be protected from violence, abuse and sexual exploitation”.
Vu Hoang (According to CNN)