Bzzzzz: Age of sexual consent to be raised from 12 to 16. A hybrid of CQs for Cebu City on September 1? No penalty for no-face-shield.

Photos from the Facebook pages of the House of Representatives and Cebu City Public Information Office

ON PERSISTENT inquiries about face shields, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año made this clear Wednesday, August 27:

[1] Wearing a face shield (in addition to face mask) is "not mandatory" and required only when riding public transport.

[2] A local government may impose its own rule about face masks, as Cebu City does, but "this should be without penalties";

[3] For workers required by their company or office to wear a face shield, they can use a do-it-yourself substitute, such as a bond-paper size acetate.

MGCQ with GCQ, ECQ limits?

If Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella would have his way, the next phase in the city's quarantine life would be the less restrictive modified general quarantine but still with general quarantine prohibitions on health protocol.

The city's GCQ status will end next Monday, August 31. And, from the forecasts of local and national officials, Cebu City is most likely to go MGCQ, the modified version that says conditions have improved.

More business and social activities will open by September 1, which is most welcome, the mayor said, but he wants to keep movement of people in public places restricted, for which the city's controversial CQ passes will be required still.

It would be a hybrid of the IATF-crafted quarantine models (inscribed on its Omnibus Guidelines): MGCQ status with GCQ and, even ECQ, restrictions. If passes are required and total lockdowns of specified areas or houses can still be done, it will be a blending of features from the various CQs.

Can Mayor Labella do it? He can try as some other LGUs, like the Cebu Province, have. Let us see how the national task force would respond.


Raising age of sex consent

Since 1997, when the Anti-Rape Law (Republic Act #8353) was approved, children aged 12 and above are deemed old enough to give sexual consent. It is considered the lowest in Southeast Asia and one of the lowest in the world.

Under a proposed House bill, the age of sexual consent is raised to 16: sex with anyone below 16 is considered without consent.

The House committees on welfare of children and revision of laws Thursday, August 27, approved a bill (consolidated from 10 proposals) that, among others, fixes the long-disputed age when "consensual, non-abusive and non-exploitative sex" with a minor is deemed rape and not rape.

As exceptions to the age requirement, the sexual activity is not considered rape:

[1] If the parties are 14 years old or above and the age difference between them does not exceed four years; or

[2] Where the sex activity involves a minor below 14 and the age difference between the parties does not exceed three years.

The exceptions would not make it a crime if the age difference is not huge, not more than four years if one is "14 or above," not more than three years if one is "below 14."

Note the "above" or "below" description of the age. It could matter a lot for prosecutors in deciding whether the sexual activity is a crime.

Other interesting provision under the proposed law:

(1) Subsequent marriage of the parties shall not extinguish criminal liability.

(2) It is still rape even if the victim 16 or above when he/she has physical, mental or psychological disability or condition that hinders full understanding consent and consequences of the sexual act.

The House bill still has to be approved en banc by the House, before it goes to the Senate. Still a long way to go.

Under the existing law on rape, it can be committed by any person on another person. Thus, participants of the sexual activity may be a man against a woman, a woman against a man, or of the same sex. The proposed bill does not change that.


Tell us about it.



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