The Philippines’ age of consent, which is 12 years old, is alarming and there aren’t any concrete plans to raise it yet. But yesterday, Sen. Leila De Lima announced that she “filed a measure seeking to raise the age of sexual consent from the current 12 to 18 years old.”
De Lima, who is a human rights advocate, filed Senate Bill No. 1949 in hopes to protect young children from sexual exploitation and abuse. “It is vital to delineate childhood from adulthood, and to take a second look at the choices we allow our children, despite the scarcity of their experience and wisdom to independently take,” she said in a statement. She added that increasing the age of consent to 18 will assure the youth that they will be “protect by all means and at all costs.”
According to UNICEF, the Philippines’ age of consent is considered one of the lowest worldwide. (The lowest being 11 years old in Nigeria.) Our current anti-rape law states that it will only be considered rape if the child is below 12 years old or is mentally challenged. Plus, access to contraceptives and HIV tests aren’t given to people below 18, so children and teens are further disadvantaged in this situation.
“In putting the age of consent on the same level as that of the age of majority, the State would safeguard the innocence of the youth, prevent sexual predators from deflowering our children, and finally put premium on the virtue of the hope of this nation,” De Lima said.
Here’s hoping that this bill gets passed into law. It’s been a long time coming after all.