Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that he supports the proposal to raise the age of consent in determining statutory rape to 16 years old.
“Payag na payag ako doon (I very much agree to that),” he said in an interview with radio DWIZ on Saturday, Sept. 19, when asked about the proposal.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri had pushed anew for the passage of his bill to increase the age for statutory rape amid the rising incidence of pregnancies among teenage girls. According to the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), most pregnant teens got involved in relationships with older men.
The current age of consent in the Philippines is 12 years old, which is among the lowest worldwide.
Meanwhile, Sotto expressed opposition to the call to strengthen sexuality education to curb teenage pregnancy. “It is already in the RH (Reproductive Health) Law, its a matter of implementation. It’s redundant, like you are just repeating the provisions of the RH Law,” he said.
He said the proposal would also be “offensive” to Catholic schools and will supposedly leave out parents in the efforts against teenage pregnancy.
“Parang nailalagay lang lahat sa eskwelahan (Like you are putting all the task on the schools). Eh sino magtuturo sa mga kabataan, nakita mo naman nasisingitan tayo ng teachers na medyo nagkakaroon ng problema sa mga estudyante (Who will teach our children, when you see some teachers are also having problems with their students),” he said.
The POPCOM earlier pushed for the passage of the proposed “Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Act” to expand the coverage of age-appropriate sexuality education to communities and extend reproductive health and family planning services to adolescents who have given birth.