Sen. Risa Hontiveros Files Bill To Penalize Catcalling

'It is deplorable that our women, young and adult, are subjected to this kind of abuse.'
by F. Valencia
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Senator Risa Hontiveros recently presented Senate Bill No. 1326 or the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act. The bill aims to penalize street harassment, such as catcalling and wolfwhistling.

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CNN Philippines quoted Hontiveros as saying, "It is deplorable that our women, young and adult, are subjected to this kind of abuse. One may think it is a compliment to catcall, or to leer, but such unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a person in a public space is actually sexist and offensive."

The bill tags harassment as the "unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a person in a public space without their consent."

The following offenses are categorized and assigned their respective penalties:

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Light violations

Unwanted cursing, wolfwhistling, catcalling, leering, sexist, and homophobic or transphobic slurs: A fine of up to P3,000 and arrest of up to 30 days + first-time offenders will also be required to undergo eight hours inclusive of a Gender Sensitivity Seminar to be conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP)

Medium violations 

Making offensive body gestures at someone and exposing private parts for sexual gratification of the perpetrator: A fine of up to P5,000 and imprisonment of up to six months for repeated offenses.

Stalking and light and medium violations accompanied by physical contact 

Touching, pinching, and brushing against the body of a person: A fine of up to P10,000 and up to six months in jail

GMA News Online report by Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez further noted: "The bill likewise mandates that the Metro Manila Development Authority for Metro Manila and the local units of the PNP for other provinces shall deputize its enforcers to be Anti-Sexual Harassment Enforcers (A-SHE). A-SHEs may immediately apprehend the offender, and immediately impose the fine or issue orders for community service."

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