Lifestyle

Bill Penalizing Catcallers Lapses Into Law

The proposed "Safe Streets, Workplaces and Public Spaces Act" is now a law.
ILLUSTRATOR Roland Mae Tanglao
Comments

No matter what you say, catcalling or wolf-whistling in public is not "freedom of expression," and it's definitely "a sexual thing" and a form of sexual harassment. And now that the proposed Safe Streets, Workplaces and Public Spaces Act lapsed into law, offenders may face jail time or pay a fine. Sen. Risa Hontiveros, in a statement on May 29, "welcomed the lapsing into law of [this] proposed measure that penalizes catcalling, wolf-whistling and other forms of gender-based street harassment against women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community."

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Senate Bill 1326 or "An Act Defining Gender-Based Street and Public Spaces Harassment, Providing Protective Measures and Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and For Other Purposes" was first introduced by Hontiveros on February 14, 2017. It defines what constitutes gender-based harassment: "Unwanted cursing; wolf-whistling; catcalling; leering; sexist, homophobic, or transphobic slurs; persistent requests for someone's name, number, and destination after clear refusal; persistent telling of sexual jokes; use of sexual names, comments, and demands; following, flashing, public masturbation, groping, stalking, and all analogous cases of sexual harassment and/or assault." The Bill also defined the "No means no" principle, which means that when the victim utters the phrase or its translation in the local dialect or language, then there's automatically an absence of consent.

It also identifies the public spaces where these forms of harassment can be penalized: Streets and alleys, public parks, schools, government buildings, malls, bars, restaurants, transportation terminals, public markets, and public utility vehicles. Penalties range from a fine of P1,000 for first-time offenders to a jail time of six months for third-time offenders.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The Senate, with a vote of 21 senators, passed this measure on its third and final reading on October 9, 2018.

Its counterpart on the lower house, House Bill 8794 or "Safe Street, Public and Online Spaces Act" by Rep. Tomasito S. Villarin, was submitted by the Committee on Women and Gender Equality on December 12, 2018. Aside from raising the minimum penalty from P1,000 to P10,000, it also defined gender-based online sexual harassment.

The Congress, with a vote of 208 representatives, passed the bill on its third and final reading on January 15, 2019.

On February 6, 2019, a bicameral conference committee report on the bill was ratified and just awaiting the President's signature. In the final version of the law, violators will face a fine of P1,000 plus 12 hours of community service and gender-sensitivity seminar for first-timers, a fine of P3,000 plus jail time of six to 10 days for second-timers, and a fine of P10,000 plus jail time of 11 to 30 days for third-time offenders.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, reportedly did not act on the bicameral conference committee report, resulting into the measure lapsing into law on April 21. This was according to a press statement posted on the Senate of the Philippines’ website.

In Philippine legislation, if the President does not act on a proposed law submitted by Congress, it will lapse into law after 30 days of receipt. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

Comments
View More Articles About:
About The Author
Christa De La Cruz for Spot.ph
View Other Articles From Christa
Comments
Latest Feed
 
Share
Built to last, we round-up the finest Swiss watches on the market.
 
Share
Because even in the Philippines' perpetual summer, a hoodie can prove to be useful.
 
Share
The Elton John biopic doesn't shy away from the darker aspects of the legendary musician's life.
 
Share
That six-pack is somewhere underneath your coat of fat.
 
Share
The Ayala Museum opens an online tour of its priceless collections and pieces.
 
Share
New guidelines allow you to keep your number even if you switch telco providers.
 
Share
Despite the rains in recent days, the National Water Resources Board lessens allocation to Maynilad and Manila Water.
 
Share
Fête de la Musique celebrates 25 years with free-for-all music events around the Philippines, and free roundtrip tickets to France.
 
Share
The classic look is being modernized and reinterpreted with new influences ranging from hip-hop to skateboarding.
 
Share
There might be one final Iron Man and Peter Parker moment in the MCU.
Load More Articles
Connect With Us