Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (File photo) 

MANILA – Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute violators of the statutory rape law saying non-prosecution is one of the reasons of the high rise of teenage pregnancies.

Zubiri said it is clear in the Republic Act 11648, or an Increasing the age of determining statutory rape”, which was signed into law in March 2022, that raises the age of sexual consent from 12 to below 16 years old,.

The law specifies that rape occurs "when the offended party is under sixteen years of age," and it defines rape as an act committed by a person against another person, instead of the previous definition that specifies rape to be between a man and a woman.

Ang mga nabubuntis ay 11 years old, 12 years old. Batas na yan, ikukulong dapat yan (Those who get pregnant are 11 years old, 12 years old. Under the law, the rapist should be imprisoned). Rape is a heinous crime and therefor they can be arrested obviously, and no bail granted to them under heinous crimes, laws on heinous crimes. So that should be implemented with the full force of the law," he said.

Zubiri said he is planning to meet with DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr., to discuss the matter, saying the figures are really alarming.

He added that what was disturbing was the fact that older men with an age difference of five to 10 years old are the ones who impregnate teenager.

The Philippine Statistics Authority recorded 2,113 births of very young girls aged 10-14 in 2020, while records from the Department of Health said this number has increased to 2,299 births in 2021. (PNA)