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President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure raising the age of sexual consent from 12 to 16 years.

Signed on March 4, 2022, Republic Act 11648 amends Republic Act 8353 of 1997, also called 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.

RA 11648 also provides stricter protection of minors from “other acts of neglect, abuse, cruelty or exploitation prejudicial to the child’s development”.

However, perhaps you’re a foreigner living in the Philippines who believes you are above the law. Guess what? You’re not. Check out the following law:

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.”

What is the prison term for prision mayor? Six years and one day to twelve years.

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”.

With reporting from The Manila Times

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