By Arwen Pascua
MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) welcomes the enactment of Republic Act 116481, raising the minimum age of sexual contact from 12 to 16 years old.
This means any person engaging in sexual contact with anyone 16 or under would be committing statutory rape, unless the age difference between them was three years or less and sex was proven to be consensual, and neither abusive nor exploitative.
The law, however, states that the exemption does not apply if the victim is under 13 years old.
This is a major development in the campaign against abuses to the vulnerable sectors of society.
“With this, our Women and Children Protection desks can initiate their own information dissemination regarding the importance of protecting our children from any form of harm and abuses,” PNP Chief Dionardo Carlos said.
A 2015 study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed that seven out of 10 rape victims in the Philippines were children.
“We want to encourage our parents to start educating their children on how to protect themselves from criminal elements. The PNP vows to continue its programs that will educate and that will encourage the minors on fighting for their rights,” Carlos said. (ai/mtvn)