Press Release
August 26, 2021

Zubiri Pushes Bill Raising Statutory Rape Age from 12 to 16

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri co-sponsored on Wednesday Senate Bill No. 2332, which amends the Revised Penal Code to raise the age of sexual consent from the current 12 years old to 16 years old. The bill also amends the language of the law to reflect that rape is committed "by a person against any person," instead of the previous "by a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman."

In his co-sponsorship speech, Zubiri brought up the 2019 story of a male Grade 7 student at a Laguna high school who was shot dead by a security guard against whom the victim had filed sexual abuse complaints. The incident was the catalyst for Zubiri to file Senate Bill No. 305, now contained in the Committee Report along with similar bills filed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Sen. Richard Gordon, Sen. Leila De Lima, Sen. Win Gatchalian, Sen. Nancy Binay, Sen. Imee Marcos, and Sen. Bong Revilla.

"Talaga naman pong kukulo ang dugo mo pag nakita o nabasa mo ang mga ganitong pangyayari," Zubiri said. "Bilang magulang, hindi ko po maisip kung ano ang maaari kong magawa sa perpetrator kung mangyari sa aking anak yan."

"The Philippines has the lowest age of consent for sexual acts among the countries in Asia, and one of the lowest in the world at 12 years old, only bested by Niger at age 11," Zubiri stressed.

Zubiri also cited World Bank data showing that the Philippines has forty-seven births annually per one thousand young women aged 15 to 19, higher than the average adolescent birth rates of forty-four per one thousand young women globally, and thirty-three in the ASEAN region.

"Parang normal na lang na makakita ka ng mga batang ina, mga teenager na may hawak na bata na aakalain mo kapatid ang inaalagaan pero anak na pala nila," he said. "Yung imbis na naglalaro, nag-aaral, o nangangarap sa kanilang kinabukasan, eh ayan at nag-aalaga na ng sarili nilang anak sa edad na 14 o 15."

"As legislators, we need to ensure that our youth are protected and that we set measures that will mitigate, if not totally eradicate, these alarming statistics on sexual violence against children.

"This bill is our humble contribution in protecting our children, and ensuring a safer environment for them so that they will enjoy their youth free from such tragic and horrible incidents. It may be a small step in our criminal justice system, but it is a great leap in the protection of our children, the future of this country."

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