By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday expressed confidence that the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act or Republic Act No. 11313, also known as the “Bawal Bastos Act,” would be a game changer.
Hontiveros offered this description of the new law, which is aimed at eliminating gender-based harassment and violence, in public as she welcomed the signing of the law’s implementing rules and regulation (IRR) held in Ortigas.
“This is a historic day! Finally we have an IRR for the Bawal Bastos Law. The days of these rude people and whoever commits gender-based public harassment are numbered,” said Hontiveros, primary author of the law.
The law strengthens existing laws and policies against gender-based harassment and violence in public places and communities.
The senator said she was confident that the law’s IRR would be appropriate and sufficient to ensure that the provisions of the law are easily understood.
“If fully implemented, it will promote progressive changes in many aspects and levels. This will also reform our current laws and policies related to gender-based public harassment,” Hontiveros said.
“It will change our mindset and use of language on women and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender). This will also promote new and positive culture to Filipinos in exchange for rude behavior and violence in our streets,” Hontiveros stressed.
The senator further said she was confident that under the law, offenders will be held accountable while ensuring due process, and most importantly, that victims are assured of justice and assistance to help them recover and move on.
The anti-bastos law imposes stiffer penalties on a range of acts from catcalling, sexist slurs, stalking and cyberstalking, wolf-whistling, leering and intrusive gazing, taunting, unwanted invitations, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic slurs.
The law also covers those who persistently give unwanted comments on one’s appearance, relentless request for one’s personal details and use of words, gestures or actions that ridicule on the basis of sex gender or sexual orientation, identity and/or expression.
It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte signed the measure into law last July even though he has drawn flak many times for his comments and jokes on women which some found to be misogynistic or sexist.
Those found guilty of violating the Bawal Bastos Law will be fined P1,000 to P100,000 and may also face imprisonment for one month.
On the other hand, those found guilty of online sexual harassment, cyberstalking, invasion of privacy and harassment in educational institutions will face a fine of P100,000 to P500,000. [Hannah L. Torregoza]