If you’re still worried about the possibility that you may encounter cat-callers and other sexual perpetrators, we have a good news for you! Senator Risa Hontiveros filed a bill last Feb 14, seeking safe spaces for women and members of the LGBTQ community.
The Senate Bill No. 1326 or known as the “Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act”, seeks to penalize “gender-based street and public spaces harassment such as catcalling, wolf-whistling, cursing, leering, groping, persistent request for name and contact details and the use of words tending to ridicule on the basis of actual or perceived sex, gender expression, or sexual orientation and identity including sexist, homophobic and transphobic slurs.”
According to Hontiveros, the bill aims to complement the existing Anti-Sexual Harassment Law. “I filed the bill 23 years since the passage of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Law which is limited to the workplace and to superior-subordinate relationships”, she said.
She also explained that there are still no specific laws that address gender-based street harassment, “citing the lack of gender lens for homophobic, trans-phobic and gender-based unjust vexation in the Revised Penal Code.”
First offenders will be required to undergo eight hours Gender Sensitivity Seminar to be conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and medium violations that includes making offensive body gestures and exposing private parts for sexual gratification of the perpetrator, will be penalized with a fine of up to P5,000 and imprisonment of up to six months.
The penal provisions under the bill extends to severe violation that will also lead to imprisonment from one to six months and a fine of P10,000.00. The Metro Manila Development Authority and the local units of the Philippine National Police will deputize their enforces into Anti-Sexual Harassment Enforcers or A-SHE. These enforcers may immediately apprehend the sexual offenders after receiving complaints.
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