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House bill seeks ban on incestuous relationships

Incestuous affairs between family members 18 years old and above—even if done with consent—may soon be penalized if the proposed Anti-Incest bill is passed into law.
House Bill 3329, filed by Cagayan de Oro representative Rufus Rodriguez and his brother ABAMIN party-list representative Maximo Rodriguez Jr., seeks to penalize incest between consenting parties.
Rodriguez said in a statement on Sunday that an Anti-Incest law is needed to address the "rising" number of incestuous relationships occurring in families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The lawmakers did not provide data on how common incestuous relationships are.
Under Articles 37 and 38 of the Family Code of the Philippines, incestuous marriages are void ab initio—from the beginning—for being contrary to public policy.
The Anti-Rape Law of 1997, meanwhile, imposes the death penalty for rape when the victim is under 18 years old and the offender is a relative within the third civil degree, or when the offender is the common-law spouse of the parent of the abused individual.
"However, there is no law which penalizes sexual relations between consenting parties 18 years of age and above," Rodriguez said. 
Under HB 3329, incestuous sexual relations with consent between ascendants and descendants of any degree, as well as between brothers and sisters whether of the full or half blood will be prohibited and considered unlawful.  
In-laws, stepparents and stepchildren, adoptive parents and their children, as well as collateral blood relatives, whether legitimate or illegitimate up to the fourth civil degree, are also banned from having incestuous affairs.
Violators shall be punished with prision correccional, or imprisonment for from six months to six years. 
The maximum penalty shall be imposed should the court prove that the incestuous relations occurred while the spouse of the ascendant, the stepparent, parent-in-law, adopting parent, or the adopted is employed in another city, municipality or province, within a radius of at least 150 kilometers from his or her habitual residence or is employed abroad.
Meanwhile, the family member or relative who is between the ages of 18 and 25 at the time of the incestuous relationship will get a punishment two degrees lower.
An official from the Center for Migrant Advocacy said in 2008 that incest is a reality several families of OFWs have to deal with as a cost of social migration.

It said, though, that there is insufficient data to determine how serious the problem is. — Xianne Arcangel/JDS, GMA News