MANILA – Detained Sen. Leila de Lima pushes to increase the age of sexual consent to protect minors against the crime of rape and other forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.
De Lima said the age of sexual consent should be raised from 12 to 18 since minors, especially those at 12 years old, have scant knowledge about sexual intercourse due to lack of proper sex education in schools.
“Age of consent” was defined as the age at which a person is deemed legally competent to consent to sexual acts.
“Allowing our children at the tender age of 12 years old to decide on their own whether the time is proper to engage in sexual intercourse – would be like abandoning them blindfold in a tunnel of mazes,” de Lima said.
She added the Philippines has one of the lowest age of consent at 12 years old which runs contrary to the international standard set forth in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which the Philippines is a signatory.
“The general historic trend among Western countries in recent history is to continually raise the age of consent while eliminating ambiguities associated with gender and sexual act. Here in the Philippines, we deal with the situation quite differently,” de Lima said.
She added it was vital to delineate childhood from adulthood and reassess the choices of the law which allows the children to independently take, in consideration with the youth’s lack of experience and wisdom.
“In amending the age of consent to be on the same level as that of the age of majority, the State would safeguard the innocence of the youth, prevent sexual predators from violating them, and further ensure that their best interests are protected and promoted,” de Lima said.
“In increasing the age of consent to 18 years old, the State is sending an unequivocal message that the youth will be protected by all means and at all costs,” added de Lima./PN