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Pres. Duterte signs law raising age of sexual consent from 12 to 16

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed legislation raising the minimum age for sexual consent from 12 to 16 years old, emphasizing the importance of protecting children from abuse and sexual exploitation.

Republic Act No. 116481, which amends the Anti-Rape Act of 1997, states that sexual intercourse between an adult and a person under the age of 16 is considered statutory rape.

However, it is clarified that no criminal liability can be imposed even if the person is under the age of 16 as long as the partner is not more than three years older and the sexual act is consensual and non-abusive. If the victim is under the age of 13, the exception does not apply.

On March 4, Duterte signed the consolidated versions of the Senate and House bills. On Monday, a copy was made available to the media.

Risa Hontiveros, the amendment’s principal author, applauded the signing.

“This is a historic legislation that we have long owed our children. As principal author of the act, I am heartened that I have been given the opportunity to be part of this groundbreaking measure. Happy Women’s Month, indeed!” she said in a social media post.

According to Child Rights Network, prior to the new law, the Philippines had the second lowest age for sexual consent in the world, trailing only Nigeria at age 11.

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