Recently this year, our dear President Duterte approved the Safe Streets, Public Spaces and Workplace Act, which is commonly known as the Bawal Bastos bill. As a matter of fact, this bill has lasped into law last 21st of April, 2019 when President Duterte failed to act on a bicameral conference committee report which was endorsed last February 2019.
You can read about the Safe Spaces Act in our article we published here. Now, it has been signed into law.
To provide information on what it is, it is the bill that mandates to not act inappropriately among women and other people who are part of the LGBT community. This denotes to men and others who usually catcall, wolf-whistle, or make sexual slurs to other people.
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Akbayan Representative Tomas Villarin said that people caught violating the new law will have corresponding penalties that are ranging from P1,000.00 to P100,000.00.
Gender-based sexual harrassment in the forms of stalking, leering, catcalling, and wolf-whistling will be penalized under the new law. Fines and penalties for these acts range from P1,000.00 to P100,000.00 for multiple and grave offenses.”
What does this new law try to explain?
Simply, this provision just tries to put emphasis on the fact that it is and never was right to harass people-not just women, but everyone in general. Even if you think other people won’t mind, touching them, lurking behind them, or generally sexually harassing them can never be appropriate.
Read: Filipinas Can Now be Carefree Because Catcalling is Banned in Manila
As per Villarin, the message of these huge fines for violating the law projects the message that being rude is expensive and it should never be done.
These penalties are crucial in sending the message mahal mambastos (it is expensive to be rude in the Philippines.”
Fines and Penalties
Those found guilty of violating the law will be fined P1,000 to P100,000, and may also be imprisoned for 1 month.
Online sexual harassment, cyberstalking, invasion of privacy and harassment in educational institutions are banned. Those found guilty of these acts will be fined P100,000 to P500,000.
Other than the fines, what other penalties does the Bawal bastos law entail?
The fines would be the maximum of the extremeties. However, the law is yearning to seek for the good in men; gender-sensitivity training and community service are among the penalties to be included if a person gets caught violating the act.
In a press conference, Villarin said that the law is made to change the norm on how society treats women-the law aims to change that by instilling respect to everyone in the country.
The passage of the law should change the cultural norm on how the society is treating women; how society places importance on the rights of everybody.”
Many people, particularly from the LGBT community rejoiced when the’ve heard the news. One representative, Maica Teves, who is a member of the Spark Philippines lauded this specific measure as victor for women and the LGBT.
Anton Paderanga, an advocate of the LGBT Community, said that this inclusion was some sort of a development and understanding that it is not just women who are harassed; even people from the LGBT community gets this type of treatment too, on a daily basis.
This new law is an additive to the now existing laws about harassment and sexual harassment here in the Philippines. The law ultimately covers workplpaces, public, subordinate-to-superior, peer-to-peer, and the like harassment cases.
So, people can now be carefree because no harassment will ever be valid under the Bawal Bastos law. Any form of harassment, personal and online, will have the accused reprimanded accordingly.
Arline Santos, a rep of the Institute of Politics and Governance, stated that this law, along with other laws, remedy the current situation our country has in harassment which can also be seen online.
How about schools and other institutions?
The law is mandating that everywhere, harassment and these types of offenses are never allowed. In fact, anti-sexual harassment policies are to be imposed publicly. People in the society should be aware of the fact that sexual harassment is never fine and will never be tolerated.
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What do you think about the Bawal Bastos law? Does this give justice to victims who’ve had history of any type of harassment in any form? Everyone is expecting that this law would be followed accordingly and that this should stop monsters from lurking around everybody’s backs.
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