This file photo shows women holding a protest during the International Women's Month.
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Senate ratifies bicam report on Safe Spaces Act
( - February 6, 2019 - 6:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate ratified on Wednesday the bicameral conference committee report on a proposed law that seeks to protect Filipinos from any unwanted sexual actions or remarks against them in public spaces.

The proposed Safe Spaces Act aims to penalize catcalling, wolf-whistling, unwanted invitations, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic and sexist slurs, sexual comments, public masturbation or flashing or private parts, groping, or any advances, whether verbal or physical.

“We are one step closer to enacting a long-sought and long-overdue that will better protect Filipinos—especially women and LGBT persons—from bigotry and hatred we see rampant in our streets, schools and even workplaces today,” Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the bill’s sponsor and author in the upper chamber, said.

One of the salient features of the proposed measure is the expansion of Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 to penalize acts of sexual harassment committed “between peers and those committed to a superior officer by a subordinate, or to a teacher by a student, or to a trainer by a trainee.”

“This measure will plug gaps in the existing law so that persons at work, school or elsewhere can be confident that they will enjoy protection from all sorts of abusers and harassers—no matter who they are,” Hontiveros.

Once the House of Representatives ratifies the proposed measure, it will be sent to Malacañang for the president’s signature. — Gaea Katreena Cabico 

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