Gactchalian reiterated his call as the country celebrates National Women’s Month this month.
Last month, Commission on Population (Popcom) reported the number of minors who become young parents continues to skyrocket.
The issue of teenage pregnancy, says the Popcom, is a crisis that needs to be resolved quickly, and 47 out of every 1,000 babies today are minors.
According to experts and groups focused on the issue of population, most of those who are now pregnant or married is due to lack of education allegedly obtained at school, as well as in their community.
If left unchecked, it is possible that more than 133,000 minors will become pregnant by the end of 2021.
In August 2020, the House panels on the welfare of children and revision of laws approved Thursday a bill aiming to raise the age of sexual consent in the Philippines to 16 years old.
The bill consolidated the ten versions of the proposed measure, which were pending at the committee level.
Gatchalian reiterates calls to raise age of sexual consent in Philippines
Currently, the minimum age of sexual consent in the Philippines is 12 years old. Sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 12 is defined as rape under Chapter 3, Article 266 of the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.
If the proposed bill was signed as a law, any adult who would engage in sexual activity with a child below 16 years old would be guilty of rape. This is regardless of whether the minor gave his or her consent.
The proposed bill states that consensual, non-abusive, and non-exploitative sexual activity with a minor below 16 years old would not be considered statutory rape in the following conditions are met:
- The parties are 14 years old or above, and the age difference does not exceed 4 years
- Where the sexual activity involves a minor below 14, the age difference does not exceed 3 years
Meanwhile, someone could still claim statutory rape if he or she is above 16 years old and has physical, mental, or psychological disability or condition that renders him or her inability to understand consent or the consequences of any sexual activity fully.