Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on September 11, 2017 called for the resignation of Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, after she received photos of Aguirre’s text messages allegedly planning to expedite a case against her. — SENATE PRIB/Joseph Vidal
By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter
THE measure penalizing gender-based street harassment against women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has lapsed into law, Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel said.
“This is a big victory and a major push back against the growing ‘bastos culture’ in our streets and communities,” Ms. Baraquel, chair of the Senate committee on women, said in a statement, Wednesday.
“Now, women and LGBTs have a strong policy instrument to protect us from gender-based street harassment. With this law, we will reclaim our streets from sexual harassers and gender bigots and make public spaces safe for all.”
The Senator said President Rodrigo R. Duterte did not act on the measure, which was set to lapse into law on April 21.
Sought for confirmation, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said in a phone message “this enrolled bill is still in the President’s private office. There being no recommendation to veto it, the same may have actually been signed. If not signed, it nevertheless lapsed into law on 21 April 2019.”
Mr. Guevarra is standing as Officer-in-Charge while Mr. Duterte is on a four-day state visit in Japan, which ends Saturday, June 1.
“The law is not a measure to punish men. It actually protects men from capitulating to sexist acts and gender bigotry by holding such deeds accountable. It is a policy that aims to effect positive behavioral changes in society. And in this effort, we believe men will play a big part in this positive transformation,” Ms. Baraquel said in her statement.
The law imposes penalties on gender-based sexual harassment in streets and public spaces, with fines ranging from P1,000 to P100,000 and imprisonment of 6 days to 6 months. Violators will also be required to attend gender-sensitivity seminars.
The law counts “catcalling, wolf-whistling, unwanted invitations, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic and sexist slur,” among others as gender-based sexual harassment.
Under the law, public places include restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs, resorts, hotels, and casinos.