The country has several laws to protect children from domestic violence and sexual abuse. Yet children continue to be victimized. One of the reasons has been the age of sexual consent – at 12 years old the lowest in Asia and one of the lowest in the world.
Both chambers of Congress have now given their final nod to their respective measures that will raise the age of sexual consent to 16. Adults who have sex with minors below that age can face prosecution for statutory rape. The gender-specific definition of rape is being amended to include males as victims as well as same-sex assaults. Also being proposed is the maximum punishment of life in prison for statutory rape.
With both chambers approving their versions of the measure, its enactment into law is certain. The next problem will be implementation. As many child welfare advocates have pointed out, among the biggest sexual abusers and exploiters of children are their own parents or guardians.