Philippines hands out stricter penalties for sexual harassment

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Republic Act 11313, known as the “Safe Spaces Act”, to impose heftier penalties for gender-based sexual harassment, announced Philippine authorities on July 15.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: AFP/VNA)

The law defines a range of offensive acts, including catcalling, wolf-whistling, intrusive gazing, cursing, misogynistic acts, sexist slurs and persistent telling of sexual jokes in public or online. 

Restaurants, bars, cinemas and other places of recreation are required to install clearly visible warning signs against would-be violators, including a hotline number to allow rapid reporting of offenses, and to designate an officer to receive complaints or apprehend perpetrators.

Punishments include fines and imprisonment depending on the gravity of the offense.

The bill’s main author, opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros, has called the law a “massive victory” against a growing culture of rude sexist actions, adding this is a big victory and a major push back against the growing “rude culture”. 

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