House approves 2 priority bills, measure raising age for statutory rape

THE House of Representatives on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, approved the security of tenure bill, more stringent provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (Amla) and the bill raising the age for statutory rape to 16.

With 207 affirmative and three negative votes with zero abstentions, the House approved on third and final reading House Bill (HB) No. 7836, which seeks to provide stronger protection against rape and sexual exploitation and abuse.

The bill also increases the age for determining the commission of statutory rape to below 16 from the current 12 years old.

Voting 204-7-3, the House also approved on final reading HB 7036, strengthening the security of tenure of workers in the private sector.

Known as the proposed Security of Tenure Act, this measure expressly prohibits labor-only contracting in the private sector except when any of the following conditions is present: the contractor does not have substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipment, machineries, work premises, among others; the contractor has no control over the workers’ methods and means of accomplishing their work; and the contractor’s workers are performing activities which are directly related to the principal business of the employer.

Aside from requiring business contractors to obtain a license from the Department of Labor and Employment, the measure also simplifies and clarifies the classification of employees by: (1) mandating regular employment as the general rule; and, (2) prohibiting fixed-term employment except in cases of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), workers on probation, relievers or temporary replacements of absent regular employees, project employees, and seasonal employees.

The House also approved on third and final reading HB 7904, further strengthening the Amla, with 213-7-3 votes.

This puts in place more stringent provisions to ensure that the Philippines shall not be used as a money-laundering site for the proceeds of any unlawful activity.

It includes tax crimes and violations of Strategic Trade Management Act on the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction among the list of predicate offenses and also includes real estate developers and brokers as covered persons.

The security of tenure bill and the amendment to the Amla were identified by President Rodrigo Duterte as priority measures during his State of the Nation Address. (SunStar Philippines from PR)


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