MANILA – A measure punishing wolf-whistling, cat-calling and other forms of harassment in public places due to one’s sex, gender or sexual orientation has been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Based on the document received by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office on Monday, Republic Act 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act was signed by Duterte on April 19.
The law, authored by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, defines gender-based sexual harassment in streets, public places, online, workplaces and education or training institutions.
Under the law, any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person in public spaces are punishable of community service of up to 12 hours or 11 to 30 days imprisonment for the third offense.
Among the illegal actions include catcalling, wolf-whistling, unwanted invitations, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic and sexist slurs, sexual comments and suggestions, public masturbation or flashing of private parts, groping, or any advances, whether verbal or physical, that are unwanted and threatened one’s sense of personal space and physical safety.
Other unlawful acts, such as making offensive body gestures at someone, exposing private parts for the sexual gratification of the perpetrator, and stalking, to name some, may receive graver punishment of imprisonment of up to a month and one day to six months under the law.
Anyone found guilty of gender-based online sexual harassment will be penalized with imprisonment, or a fine of between P100,000 to P500,000 or both.
If the violator was a juridical person, its license or franchise shall be automatically deemed revoked, while a foreign national who violates it shall be subject to deportation proceedings after serving sentence and payment of finnes./PN