The legal age of consent in the Philippines of 12 remains as one of the lowest in the world and has not changed since 1930.
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and UNICEF Ambassador Anne Curtis share a common call of urging Congress and the Senate to prioritize the passage of a law that increases the age of sexual consent in the country from 12 to at least 16.
The two personalities took to Twitter to join UNICEF in the campaign. Gray, who retweeted UNICEF on Thursday, appealed to the Philippine Congress to act urgently.
“It’s MORE than alarming that the age of sexual consent in our country is still 12 YRS OLD,” she wrote. “Not only is it one of the lowest in Asia and in the world, but it leaves young children in the PH vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.”
“Please act now!”
Meanwhile, Curtis also retweeted the same content from UNICEF multiple times through a series of tweets that expressed her distress over the issue. She also echoed information from DSWD which revealed that “most victims of rape and child incest are between the age of 14 to below 18,” a range that’s way above the legal age of consent.
“I know this may be tough to read but please take the time. Can you believe, at 12 years old an adult can have sex with a child & claim it’s consensual? This makes me sick in the tummy. You aren’t even legally allowed to get married, vote, get a license yet.. but this is allowed?” Curtis wrote.
“Another concern that should be given light is how equally vulnerable boys are to rape hence an amendment should be made to the anti-rape law where the perpetrators should be equally punished,” she added. “It doesn’t matter if the child is a boy or a girl. The trauma these children suffer from is exactly THE SAME. They should have equal protection rights.”
“With the opening of congress happening soon I believe this to be a grave matter, especially during this time where children are potentially more at risk.”
Curtis’ point regarding raising the age for what qualifies as statutory rape is elaborated within Republic Act 8353, or the Anti-Rape law of 1997. As for the legal age of consent which stays pinned at 12, it was enshrined in a penal code that was first written into law way back in 1930.