Increasing age for statutory rape seen to help curb prostitution – lawmakers

Maris Federez   •   August 30, 2019   •   1692

Close to five proposed bills had been filed in the Senate that seek to amend the age covered under statutory rape in the Philippines.

Under the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, statutory rape occurs when a child age 12 or below engages in sexual intercourse, be it with consent or coerced.

Under the existing law, children under 12 do not have the capacity to give consent.

This prompted Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri to file a bill seeking to increase the age from 12 to 15 years old.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian’s version, on the other hand, wants to elevate it to 18 years old.

Gatchalian said the age of majority in the Philippines is 18, when an individual can enter into a contract and begin to enjoy the right to vote.

“Consequently, the age of majority should also be considered as the proper age in terms of giving sexual consent,” he added.

Gatchalian believes that increasing the statutory rape age to 18 will address the prostitution problem among young people.

In other countries such as the United States, the legal age of consent is between 16 and 18.

And like Canada and Australia, the Philippines set the age of consent to 16.

Meanwhile, the Center for Women’s Resources said more than 52,000 rape and attempted rape cases had been recorded from 2005 to 2014.

A very significant number of this (75%) have children as victims.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, on the other hand, showed that between 2012 and 2014, rape cases in the country were on the uphill.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, meanwhile, said of the more than 2,000 cases of child abuse recorded, 539 were done sexually.

The lawmakers believe that it is high time to amend the law to further protect the youth, especially young children, from abuse. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

DSWD to assist LGUs hit by STS Maring

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it is prepared to assist local government units (LGUs) hit by Severe Tropical Storm ‘Maring’.

Based on the October 12 report, the DSWD still has P1.06 billion stockpiles and standby funds, where more than P133 million is the available standby funds in the DSWD Central Office and its Field Offices (FOs).

The department also added that a total of 381,893 family food packs (FFPs) are prepositioned in strategic locations around the country.

The DSWD reported that, 762 families or 2,536 persons are currently taking temporary shelter in 58 evacuation centers in the said regions.

The Department’s Quick Response Teams in the affected regions remain on alert status to work with concerned LGUs in assisting their constituents. AAC

QC records 66% increase in violence against women and children

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2021

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) reported a 66.67% increase in violence against women and children (VAWC) cases and a 21.54% increase in rape cases.

QCPD Director BGen. Antonio Yarra reported an increase in VAWC and rape cases in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period last year.

He also noted that the pandemic played a significant role in the upward trend, as most families are at home.

This was compounded by the financial difficulties experienced by many families, resulting in domestic conflict.

Most of the recorded cases were of physical abuse, with psychological abuse a distant second.

“We have launched a campaign to make women aware of their rights and make them advocates so they will be encouraged to report abuses,” he said.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte expressed concern on the issue and rallied victims or their relatives and friends to report such abuses through the QC Protection Center Hotline 122, or to the barangay and QCPD women’s desk.

She also directed concerned local authorities to closely monitor and act swiftly on calls and reports pertaining to VAWC and other gender-based incidents.

“We cannot let any QCitizen suffer from gender-based violence in Quezon City especially during the pandemic,” she said.

Belmonte reported that the Quezon City government together with the QCPD are set to launch a unified information management system to facilitate the monitoring and hasten the investigation of VAWC cases. –AAC

Starpay denies Pacquiao’s corruption allegations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— E-wallet service provider Starpay Corporation has disputed Senator Manny Pacquiao’s allegation of corruption in the financial aid distribution of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“In the interest of truth and transparency, we would like to clear the baseless claims against Starpay Corporation on the issue of ayuda distribution. Over the last several days, statements, allegations, and insinuations have been released using unverified data and we would like to set the record straight with readily verifiable facts that are also accessible and available in the public domain,” Starpay said in a statement.

Starpay partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the distribution of pandemic cash aid through its e-wallet service. Pacquiao previously claimed that Starpay failed to fully distribute the financial aid under the DSWD’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

On the supposed large number of complaints, the company has on record a total of 1,615 complaints which have been resolved and would only constitute to 0.03% of the total served number of beneficiaries.

The licensed electronic money issuer (EMI) already liquidated the funds and have refunded the amount for the unserved beneficiaries through several checks that were issued to the DSWD. It also belied Pacquiao’s claims that the current capitalization of the company is P62,000.

“The required capitalization to apply for an EMI license is P100 million, which we complied with in 2017 as a prerequisite by the BSP for any EMI license application. Senator Manny Pacquiao’s statement during his press conference that our current capitalization is P62,000 is incorrect, while the correct and accurate figures are easily verifiable with the Securities and Exchange Commission,” Starpay said.

Starpay also reported that it was able to cover more than five million beneficiaries that were successfully paid as we went above and beyond the original allocation set by the DSWD and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“We commit to upholding transparency and integrity in our operations and we will continue to work harder so that we will be able to provide the widest and most convenient range of digital financial services for the greatest good of all Filipinos,” Starpay said. AAC

 

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