Agence France-Presse via South China Morning Post
December 21, 2020
– Campaigners say the legislation would help protect youngsters in a nation that has become a global hotspot for online child sex abuse
– Prosecuting adult perpetrators in rape cases involving children as young as 12 has been difficult because they can argue the sex was consensual
Manila teenager Rose Alvarez was 13 when she started having sex with a man who was more than twice her age. That would be statutory rape in most countries, but not in the Philippines.
The Catholic-majority country has one of the lowest ages of consent in the world, allowing adults to legally have sex with children as young as 12. Congress now looks set to approve a bill to raise the age to 16.
Children’s rights activists have lobbied for decades to increase the age – enshrined in the penal code since 1930 – but faced resistance from what they describe as a “culture of patriarchy” in a country where abortion and divorce are illegal.
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