The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is an important national occasion. Every year, the incumbent president takes this opportunity to speak about the achievements of his or her term and reveals upcoming plans.
The SONA also marks the opening of the regular sessions of Congress and Senate.
At both SONA and the opening of Congress, members of both houses are dressed much more formally than usual. Many of the legislators change outfits for the SONA.
Occasions like this are also a great time for "class pictures," especially since various committees and institutions command complete attendance.
As the Senate opened the regular session of the 18th Congress this morning, the staff of Sen. Kiko Pangilinan posted the Senate class picture on Twitter, among other photos of the morning's ceremonies.
One netizen had a rather strong opinion on the outfit worn by Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
Not only did he call the senator a "thirsty slut," but he also encircled her legs in red.
Of course, the senator had the fiercest response ever.
Sen. Hontiveros is wearing a piña barong dress designed by Joel Acebuche, made from textile woven in Kalibo, with embroidery done in Lumban.
We have to wonder, why did he call out Sen. Hontiveros in particular and nobody else? Sen. Cynthia Villar was also wearing a short dress and her knees were also visible. Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares was also wearing a short dress, though her knees were a little more covered. Sen. Nancy Binay was wearing a low-cut dress. Maybe it was the slit of Sen. Risa's barong dress that the user had a problem with?
Another thing: Didn't this netizen know whom he was dealing with? Sen. Hontiveros is one of the *legit* defenders of women's rights. She has only been in the Senate for three years, but her work has always been for the protection of women and children and other underserved segments of society. Her accomplishments include: the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, the Philippine Mental Health Law, and the Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Law.
Her most recent—and in this case, most relevant!—accomplishment: the "Bawal Bastos" Law. Republic Act No. 11313, or the "Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act" aims to punish catcalling and other gender-based harassment in public spaces and online. The law says, "The state also recognizes that both men and women must have equality, security, and safety not only in private, but also on the streets, public spaces, online, workplaces, and educational and training institutions."
User @carlo1em might be interested to know that the definition of gender-based online sexual harassment includes acts that use information and communications technology in terrorizing and intimidating victims through physical, psychological, and emotional threats, unwanted sexual misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, and sexist remarks and comments online.
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