THE SENATE on Monday approved on third and final reading the bill penalizing cat-calling and other forms of street-based sexual harassment.
Senate Bill No. 1558, the Safe Streets, Workplaces, and Public Spaces Act, was approved with 21 affirmative votes, no negative vote, and no abstention.
It was authored and sponsored by Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel, the chairman of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality.
The bill imposes penalties against unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a person due to his or her gender in a public space, without their consent. Violators may face a fine ranging from P1,000 to P10,000, imprisonment from 30 days to six months, and community service, depending on the gravity of the offense.
Specific acts include, but are not limited to, unwanted cursing, wolf-whistling, cat-calling, leering, sexist, persistent requests for someone’s name, number or destination after clear refusal, persistent telling of sexual jokes, use of sexual names, comments and demands, following, flashing, public masturbation, groping, and stalking. — Camille A. Aguinaldo