De Lima files bill to raise age of sexual consent from 12 to 18

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 30) — Detained Senator Leila de Lima has filed a bill to raise the statutory age of rape from 12 years old to 18.

Senate Bill No. 1949 seeks to increase the age of sexual consent to protect children against abuse and rape.

"In increasing the age of consent to 18 years old, the State is sending a message — loud and clear — the youth will be protected by all means and at all costs," she said in a statement on Thursday.

Under Republic Act No. 8533 or the 1997 Anti-Rape Law, a sexual act is considered statutory rape when the victim is under 12 years old or is mentally unstable. Statutory rape is punishable by reclusion perpetua or 20- to 40-year imprisonment.

De Lima said this law has to be revised as a 12-year-old child won't have enough knowledge about sexual consent and intercourse given the lack of sex education and reproductive health options in the country.

"It is vital to delineate childhood from adulthood. Take a second look at the choices we allow our children, despite the scarcity of their experience and wisdom to independently take... Allowing our children at the tender age of 12 years old to decide on their own whether the time is proper to engage in sexual intercourse would be like abandoning them blindfold in a tunnel of mazes," she said.

Philippines is one of the countries with the lowest age at which a child can consent to sexual activity. The average age of consent internationally is at 16 years old, UNICEF Philippines has reported.

Several senators and congressmen have previously filed bills to increase the age for determining statutory rape.