Raising age for statutory rape strengthens child protection — priest

Raising age for statutory rape strengthens child protection — priest

By CBCP News

December 7, 2020

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic priest described as “good move” a measure that seeks to raise the age for the crime of statutory rape against minors.

Fr. Melvin Castro, former executive secretary of the bishops’ family and life ministry, said the bill would provide stronger protection for children.

“Raising the age of statutory rape is a good move as it protects the minor,” Castro said.

The House Bill 7836 that seeks to raise the age of sexual consent to 16 years old was approved by the House of Representatives on Dec. 1.

Under the current Philippine laws, sexual intercourse is illegal and tantamount to rape if the victim is under 12 years old— the lowest in Southeast Asia.

The priest said that even the Church has instituted the protection of minors, 18 years old and below.

“Naturally, rape is a very deep and grave problem. Laws and law enforcement can only do so much,” Castro said.

“Values formation is a perennial need, and here all institutions could and must help,” he added.

Once passed into law, violators will be jailed for life or reclusion perpetua.

The benefit of good conduct and time allowance (GCTA) is also denied to convicted persons if rape is committed in aggravating circumstances.

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