Hontiveros bill seeks to expand antisexual harassment law

Published by reposted only Date posted on February 14, 2017

By: Maila Ager, INQINQUIRER.net, Feb 14, 2017

Annoyed by a person who persistently asks for your name and contact details?

Such act, among others, would be penalized if a bill filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday is passed into law.

Senate Bill No. 1326 known as the “Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act” provides for a long list of prohibited acts that would be penalized, from light offenses such as cursing, wolf-whistling, catcalling, leering and persistent requests for name and contact details, up to severe violations, like stalking.

The bill has categorized the prohibited acts into three—light, medium and severe violations.

Considered light violations, under the bill, are the following: cursing, wolf-whistling, catcalling, leering, and persistent requests for name and contact details; 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; or the persistent telling of sexual jokes.

The measure provides for a penalty ranging from a fine of P1,000 and/or community service of eight hours and a Gender Sensitivity Seminar, to 30 days imprisonment or a fine of P3,000 for acts committed under the light violations.

Medium violations, on the other hand, include making “offensive body gestures at someone, exposing private parts for the sexual gratification of the perpetrator with the effect of demeaning, harassing, threatening or intimidating the offended party.”

A fine of up to P5,000 and up to six months imprisonment await those who would commit the offenses defined under the “medium violations.”

Stalking and all the acts under the “light and medium” violations accompanied by “touching, pinching or brushing against the body of a person; any touching, pinching, or brushing against the genitalia, anus, groin, breasts, inner thighs, face or buttocks even when not accompanied by acts mentioned above,” would be considered “severe violations.

The bill provides for a penalty of up to P10,000 fine and six months imprisonment for offenses committed under “severe violations.”

Hontiveros said her proposed measure was an enhancement of 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 in a statement.

Despite the existence of the law, the senator noted that there are still “no clear-cut” laws that address gender-based street harassment, citing the lack of gender lens for homophobic, transphobic and gender-based unjust vexation in the Revised Penal Code.

“At yung dagdag pang innovation nyan ay may mga public officers na pwede ng sumaklolo kaagad kapag nag-SOS ang isang babae (The additional innovation is there would be public officers who could respond if a woman sends an SOS) on the street,” she told reporters.

“At may kaagad na relief dahil bibigyan ng ticket ang offender na parang nag violate ng traffic rules or nag jaywaking, etc (There would be immediate relief because the offender would be given a ticket the same as when someone violates the traffic rules or performed jaywaking, etc),” she added.

Under the bill, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for Metro Manila, and the local units of the Philippine National Police for other provinces will deputize enforcers or Anti-Sexual Harassment Enforcers (A-SHE), who would receive complaints on the street and immediately apprehend the offender if caught in the act. RAM/rga

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/871342/hontiveros-bill-seeks-to-expand-antisexual-harassment-law#ixzz4YiN0vY88
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