The Save the Children Philippines (SCP) cited the House of Representatives for approving the bill that adjusts from 12- to 16-years-old the age of victims in statutory rape cases on second reading.
The House Bill 7836 provides for the re-definition of statutory rape by amending Act No. 3815, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code, and Republic Act 7610, also known as the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discriminatory Act.
Under the bill, the age factor of the victim in a statutory rape case is increased from 12- years-old to 16-years-old at the time the crime was committed, whether or not there was consent on the part of the minor.
“We welcome this legislative victory as we celebrate the National Children’s Month and International Day for Prevention of Violence on Women and Girls that will strengthen the protection of children from abuse and exploitation, and, at the same time, recognize the rights of adolescents to health and development,” SCP Chief Executive Officer Atty. Alberto Muyot said in a statement.
SCP said the bill adheres to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that guarantees the rights of children and young people to be protected from sexual abuse, particularly the vulnerable sectors such as the poor and marginalized, people with disabilities, and children of indigenous people’s families.
Statutory rape is also committed on a victim over 16 but has physical, mental, or psychological disability when sexually abused. Penalty for statutory rape is life imprisonment.
The child rights group said it has been advocating for the passage of the bill to protect the children from all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation.
READ MORE: House OKs bill redefining statutory rape