Zubiri: Raise statutory rape age to prevent rise of teenage pregnancies
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri made another push for his proposal to raise the age of statutory rape, in order to lessen instances of teenage pregnancy.
Speaking on Tuesday during interpellation of a bill seeking to prevent teenage pregnancy, Zubiri said the age of statutory rape can be increased to 16 years old, as opposed to the current. Currently, statutory rape only applies in instances where one party is below 12 years old.
“Naniniwala ako na maraming sexual abuses and violence ang nagaganap sa mga batang 12 hanggang 16 taong gulang,” Zubiri said. “Pero hindi maparusahan ang maysala kasi sinasabi ng maysala na pumayag ang bata, kahit sa totoo ay sapilitan ang naganap.”
Zubiri underscored the importance of expanding the coverage of statutory rape laws in order to deter predators and protect the youth, with the effect also of bringing down incidence of teenage pregnancy.
“Napakahalaga na mapalawak natin ang coverage ng statutory rape laws natin, para hindi na kailangan na patunayan na ginamitan ng pwersa or pananakot ang mga biktimang menor de edad,” he said. “Sigurado akong mababawasan ang mga teenage pregnancy natin kung maitataas natin ang statutory rape age… Proteksyon natin to para sa kabataang Pilipino.”
According to Zubiri, based on the 2016 National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children (NBS-VAC), one in every five children below 18 years experiences sexual violence.
“By raising the age to 16 years, I hope that we could put a dent on the number of children victimized since ‘carnal knowledge’ of children aged 12 up to 16 years will now be considered statutory rape… Huwag na nating pahirapan ang mga batang biktima at ang kanilang mga magulang o guardians na makahanap ng hustisya,” he said.
Zubiri further said that this amendment to the Revised Penal Code “is long overdue, considering that the RPC is 89 years old and should be put at par with the expanding measures to protect children, our most valuable asset.”
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