A congressman from the supposed opposition bailiwick of Bicol has praised President Duterte for all he has done for the protection of women and children during his six-year term in Malacañang.
Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte said the President has approved various measures safeguarding women and children, the latest of which was Republic Act (RA) 11648 that further protects the sector against sexual exploitation.
The new law raised the age of sexual consent from 12 to 16 years to protect the minors from rape and other acts of sexual abuse. It also makes the prosecution of offenders less traumatic for rape victims.
“It is only fitting that the President signed the law as we celebrate National Women’s Month in March. More importantly, the law covers not only female minors but all kids who are victims of sexual abuse under the age of 16,” said Villafuerte, a former House deputy speaker.
Villafuerte, a principal author of the measure in the House of Representatives, said the RA 11648 protects rape victims, especially children, from “victim blaming and re-victimization” as the law makes it clear that having carnal knowledge of an individual under 16 years of age is rape, including those committed against children exploited in prostitution.
By signing RA 11648, Duterte also ended the Philippines’ rather embarrassing distinction of having the lowest minimum age for sexual consent in Asia.
He also lauded the President for his pro-women policies, which include the signing of Executive Order (EO) 12. It seeks to attain and sustain “zero unmet need for modern family planning” through the strict implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act.
The administration ally also cited the President’s signing into law of RA 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act and RA 11210 or the 105-day Expanded Maternity Leave Law.
Under RA 11648, the Department of Education (DepEd) in mandated to include in the basic education curriculum and teach age-appropriate subjects tackling the rights and protection of the children in relation to the law.
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