Manila Rep. Manuel Lopez has expressed optimism that a newly enacted law would effectively stamp out if not drastically reduce incidence of sexual abuse against minors.
Lopez was one of the principal authors of Republic Act 11648, also called Act Raising the Age of Sexual Consent, signed recently into law by President Duterte.
“I am optimistic that abuses against minors will be drastically reduced by RA 11648,” as a case in point his district of Tondo which has very dense population with “unsafe living conditions and high incidence of criminality.
“The new law, RA 11648, will not, alone, attain in full its purpose unless all relevant sectors of the community work hand-in-hand to combat these abuses and together exert all efforts to protect minors and children,” said Lopez, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.
Lopez also lauded his fellow legislators and co-authors, members of Congress, and President Duterte for the enactment of the measure.
“Our schools, as mandated by the law, should ensure that they put in place learning subjects or sessions regarding rights and protection of children so they are able to identify, respond to, and report rape and other sexual offenses. Our police force must be vigilant in going after all offenders. Government institutions must continue to create opportunities and meaningful developments to improve the lives of the citizens, particularly those of the less fortunate.”
Lopez also urged parents to take a more active role in the lives of their children. “This is the most effective way of protecting our children against these abuses. As the new law takes effect today, let us not stop doing our part and continue to pursue more ways to protect the rights of all children in the country.”
Under the new law, any sexual act committed against minors under 16 years of age, with certain exceptions, is considered rape.
Under the old law, the offended party had to be below 12 years old.
Also punishable under the new law are acts of seduction – having sexual intercourse with a minor under 16 years old, and under eighteen years of age, as opposed to the previous law which prohibited seduction the offended party was over 12 years and under 18 years of age.
The measure also provides penalty for acts constituting child prostitution and other sexual abuse, child trafficking, acts of neglect, and cruelty or exploitation against an individual under 16 years of age.
Also covered are cases involving obscene publications and indecent shows if the child used as performer, subject, or seller/distributor was under 18 years of age.