Zubiri pushes bill increasing statutory rape age to 16

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Sunday said passing the bill increasing the age for statutory rape to 16-years-old into law would help shield Filipino teenage girls from sexual predators.

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Zubiri, who filed Senate Bill No. 305 or the proposed “Act Increasing the Age for Determining Statutory Rape,” said he believes sexual predators are taking advantage of the country’s current law, thus, it is necessary to amend the current provision under the Revised Penal Code.

The age of sexual consent, under the current law, is at 12-years-old.

“At the moment, almost 500 teenagers are getting pregnant each day because no one is afraid they would be arrested. You can only file charges of seduction against an adult who had sex with a 14-year-old girl,” Zubiri said in an interview over GMANewsTV.

“The penalty is so minimal. I feel pity for the parents and the young girls who get swayed by these sexual predators,” the senator added.

As a result, Zubiri said these young girls who get pregnant as a result drop out of school and eventually miss the opportunity to have a better future. He noted the government is setting aside a huge amount of public funds to ensure Filipino youths would be able to pursue and finish their education even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That was shown on the studies of the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM). Almost 85 percent have dropped out of school. So the poverty rate remains, because we have to remember young people still lacks the mental faculty, so we need to protect them from sexual predators,” he said.

Zubiri said he believes the measure has a strong chance of passing this year, as many senators have signified their support and asked to be co-author of the bill.

Aside from him, other senators who filed a similar measure were Nancy Binay, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.