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Duterte OKs bill increasing age of sexual consent to 16

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act (R.A.) 116481 on Friday, March 4, enabling individuals, who perform sexual activities with children aged 16 years old and under, to be guilty of statutory rape.

Not only until March 7, Monday, that Malacañang released the signed RA and was updated on the Official Gazette’s website. Moreover, the House of Representatives ratified the bicameral committee report on December 14, 2021.

Prior to the law's passage, the Philippines' minimum age for sexual consent was 12 years old, the lowest in Southeast Asia and one of the lowest in the world.

The republic act excludes sexual activity cases between a minor and an individual with not more than three years age gap, and if the action has consent and no abuse. The exception is not applicable if the victim is 13 years old and under.

Department of Education (DepEd) is urged in the law to include subjects about child protection and rights in the primary education curriculum. Other private and public institutions are also encouraged to conduct training regarding responding and reporting rape cases and sexual offenses.

Offenses under each section of the act have different penalties, but it all falls to medium-term reclusion temporal.

RA 116481 revised the contents of the Anti-Rape Law and the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. 

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