MANILA Rep. Manny Lopez, one of the principal authors of Republic Act (RA) No. 11648 – a law “providing for stronger protection against rape and sexual exploitation and abuse” is very pleased that the said law has finally taken effect.
“Especially in our poorer communities like Tondo, Manila, it is imperative that the government extend the scope of protection for our poor children where they are more susceptible to all forms of sexual abuse. I hope the passage of this new law is a good first step,” said Lopez.
Under the new law, any sexual act committed against minors under 16 years of age, with certain exceptions, is now automatically treated as rape. Under the outdated previous law, the offended party had to be under twelve (12) years of age.
Also punished under this new law are acts of Seduction – having sexual intercourse with a minor under 16 and under eighteen 18 years of age, as opposed to the previous law which punishes such act of seduction only if the offended party was a woman and over 12 years and under 18 years of age.
Finally, acts constituting child prostitution and other sexual abuse, child trafficking, and other acts of neglect, cruelty, or exploitation, are now punishable if the victim is under 16 years of age. Included are cases involving obscene publications and indecent shows if the child used as a performer, subject, or seller/distributor is under 18 years of age, all of which acts previously covered only those whose victims are under 12 years of age.
Rep. Lopez, who lauded his fellow co-authors, members of Congress, and the President for the passage of the said law, is optimistic that abuses against minors will be drastically reduced by this new legislative measure, especially in his beloved District of Tondo, which, due to its very dense population as well as poor and unsafe living conditions for most of its residents, ranks among the top in terms of recorded crimes of these nature.
Lopez stressed that 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. “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 its citizens, particularly those of the less fortunate. Finally, our dear parents must 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”.