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Duterte signs law raising age of sexual consent

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BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law Republic Act 11648, which increases the age for determining the commission of statutory rape from 12 to 16 years old, disclosed Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez yesterday.

Benitez, the principal author of RA 11648said “This law is long overdue and necessary to protect children from sexual exploitation.”

He also congratulated child rights advocates and champions of child rights on Congress.

RA 11648 amends RA 8353 of 1997, also called as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.

The new law provides additional protection to minors aged 16 and under against qualified seduction, child prostitution and other sexual abuse, child trafficking, and forceful hiring of minors for obscene publications and indecent shows.

It also provides stricter protection of minors from “other acts of neglect, abuse, cruelty or exploitation prejudicial to the child’s development.”

“Any person who shall keep or have in his company a minor 16 years of age or under or who is 10 years or more his junior in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach, and/or other tourist or similar places shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period and a fine of not less than P50,000,” part of the law read.

The penalty does not apply to any person who is related within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity or “any bond recognized by law, local custom and tradition or acts in the performance of a social, moral, or legal duty.”*

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