Anne Curtis stands with UNICEF, urges PH lawmakers to raise age of sexual consent

Anne Curtis rallied behind United Nations agency UNICEF as she urged lawmakers to pass the law raising the age of sexual consent from 12 to 16.

Under Republic Act No. 8353 or the Anti-Rape law of 1997, the current minimum age of sexual consent in the Philippines is 12 years old, among the lowest in the world. This means that any adult can have sexual relations with a child as young as 12 and claim it was consensual.

In a tweet on July 22, Anne said that this makes her "sick in the tummy."

"You aren't even legally allowed to get married, vote, get a license yet…but this is allowed?" she wrote, retweeting a UNICEF Philippines tweet.

"This is URGENT. I stand with UNICEF as they call on the Philippine Congress to IMMEDIATELY pass a law that increases the age of statutory rape to at least 16," she said in a following tweet, citing data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development that shows that most victims of rape and child incest are between the ages of 14 to below 18.

Anne, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, also stressed the importance of equalizing protection for children regardless of gender.

"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," she said.

In the Philippines, anti-rape laws leaves male victims particularly vulnerable. The the definition of rape involves "having carnal knowledge of a woman."

In December 2020, the House of Representatives approved the bill to raise the age of sexual consent to 16. The Senate has yet to pass a counterpart measure, although the Senate committee on justice and human rights approved the bill in October 2020. Both chambers of Congress must approve their versions of a propose law, reconcile it via a bicameral committee, and ratify a consolidated version before it is sent to the President for signing into law. –