Law vs cat-calling, public harassment eyed

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2017 03:25 PM

Photo courtesy of Risa Hontiveros' FB page

MANILA – A bill has been filed in the Senate seeking to prevent and punish gender-based harassment in public places to complement a similar law which is only limited to workplaces.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said, the Revised Penal Code on unjust vexation does not cover “with exactitude" gender-based, misogynistic and homophobic public spaces harassment," while provisions on sexual harassment only cover harassment in the workplace between a superior and subordinate.

In her proposed measure titled “An Act Defining Gender-Based Street and Public Spaces Harassment,” Hontiveros seeks to penalize “light violations” such as cursing, wolf-whistling, and cat-calling.

On the other hand, those to be considered “severe violations” are stalking, touching, pinching or brushing against the genitalia, anus, groin, breasts, inner thighs, face or buttocks. 

Hontiveros’ bill states that public spaces shall include but are not limited to streets, alleys, public parks, schools, government buildings, malls, bars, restaurants, transportation terminals, public markets, public utility vehicles. 

Penalties may range from P1,000 fine and community service to P10,000 pesos and "arresto mayor" or one to six months imprisonment.