Now the Philippines is brewing rules to raise the age restriction to 16 years to protect children from sexual predators which sometimes resulted in the victim’s death.
One such person was Rosario Baluyot, who suffered for seven months before dying.
The internal wounds that she suffered due to the act of rape resulted in an infection in the uterine tract near the vagina causing her to bleed and then die.
On his grave headstone in Olongapo, on the outskirts of Manila, is the 11-year-old Rosary when he died in 1987.
However, because he does not have a birth certificate as well as other evidence showing his age is a factor for the court to release the perpetrator, because in the Philippines the age limit is allowed. have sex is 12 years old.
The case later became a book entitled Rosario is Dead and ended with a major legal change in the Philippines.
Then in 1992 regulations emerged to provide stronger protection for children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
However, the age limit remains unchanged, remains 12 years, and it is officially listed in the Philippine Criminal Code which was created in 1930.
Now the country’s parliament is discussing a bill to raise the age limit to 16.
Proof that someone is 12 years old
Austrian doctor Heinrich Stefan Ritter was initially found guilty in the Rosaria case on charges of “rape ending in death”.
He was sentenced to pay “fines and moral punishment” and deported and could not return to the Philippines.
In the appeal case Dr Ritter’s lawyer said Rosario was 13 years old and thus above the allowable threshold.
Also that Rosario is a street prostitute who sells herself for anyone who wants to pay.
In many countries having sex with a 13 year old child is automatically recognized as an act of rape.
However, in the Philippines adults can have formal sexual relations with a 12 year old child and say it is consensual.
It is the lowest age limit in Asia and the second lowest age limit in the world after Nigeria where the age limit is 11 years.
In some Middle Eastern and African countries, there is no age limit but there are restrictions on sexual relations outside of marriage.
In Rosario’s case, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled that it was the prosecutor’s job to prove that Rosario was under 12 years of age when the sexual act took place.
The prosecution could not prove this and the Austrian Dr Ritter was acquitted and was acquitted.
Raise the age limit to 16 years
Now 33 years after Rosario’s death, Philippine politicians are considering raising the age limit for sexual intercourse from 12 to 16.
“This legal reform is urgent because in the Philippines the rate of violence against children is high,” said Patrizia Benvenuti, Head of Child Protection at UNICEF’s world body.
“” UNICEF and the children’s rights community have been lobbying and campaigning actively for years on this issue. “
The bill, which is expected to pass at a session of the Philippine Parliamentary Congress in November, would state that adults who have sexual relations with those under the age of 16 will automatically be found guilty of rape.
People today can no longer use the excuse that a relationship is consensual.
Bernadette Madrid, director of the Children’s Protection Unit of the Philippines, said the new rules would reduce the number of cases of abuse against children.
“From various existing studies, the higher the age limit, the number of cases of sexual harassment decreases,” he said.
“So there is a direct relationship between age and the decrease in rape cases.”
Statistics show that the rate of child rape as well as sexual abuse in the country is staggering.
On average a woman or child is raped every four hours according to the Center for Women’s Resources.
About seven in 10 victims are children.
And many of the victims of rape are boys.
National research has found that one in five children between the ages of 13 and 17 have experienced it sexual violence.
However, the figure for boys was higher at 24.5 percent than for girls, at 18.2 percent.
Until now groups protecting children’s rights have said that perpetrators of violence against boys receive a lighter sentence than the punishment for rape of girls.
It is hoped that in this amendment, the boys will also receive the same protection.
Perpetrators can be subject to a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison if found guilty.