Liza Soberano and other personalities called on the Senate to pass the bill that will raise the age of determining statutory rape in the country from 12 to 16 years old.
Senate Bill 2332 or the “End Child Rape Bill” was endorsed for plenary deliberations last August.
Soberano made her appeal to the Senate in a video message released on social media on Wednesday.
— Liza Soberano (@lizasoberano) September 15, 2021
“Most perpetrators of child rape are the victims’ own neighbors, fathers, boyfriends, and uncles, according to the cases handled by women and children protection units,” the actress said.
“Raising the age of statutory rape will drastically make it easier for these victims to seek and attain justice. We call on the Philippine Senate to resume the deliberation of the ‘End Child Rape’ bill now,” she added.
In her post, Soberano also wrote: “Calling on the Philippine Senate to please raise the age of statutory rape in the Philippines. #Endchildrape now.”
Prior to this, TV host Bianca Gonzales also made the same call on her account.
— Bianca Gonzalez (@iamsuperbianca) September 14, 2021
She retweeted a TikTok video of former senatorial candidate Chel Diokno where he responded to an inquiry about the age of sexual consent in the Philippines.
In his video, Diokno stated that the Philippines’ 12-year-old age of sexual consent is the lowest in Asia and the second-lowest in the world.
“Girls of that age are easy targets for sexual predators. Dapat itaas natin ito. Isang panawagan sa mga kalalakihan jan: Igalang natin palagi ang kababaihan at ang kabataan. Let us never take advantage and exploit women and children,” he said.
Child Rights Network Philippines, one of the largest child rights organizations in the country, also urged the senators to resume their deliberations on the proposed measure.
It released an infographic that showed the trauma 12-year-old children who are rape victims received in court trials.
“To our senators: Please don’t play a role in a victim’s re-traumatization. Resume the deliberations of the bill raising the age of statutory rape NOW! #ENDChildRape,” the organization said.
The CRN had since lobbied for the passage of a bill that will amend the standing Anti-Rape Law of 1997 since 2018.
In section 2 of the law, the act of rape is automatically determined “the offended party is under 12 of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.”
Child rights groups and advocates sought to amend this provision and raise the age to 16 years old.
Last July, Catriona Gray and Anne Curtis joined UNICEF Philippines in making the same appeal to lawmakers.