December 10, 2022

A series of public consultations was held from Dec. 22 to 24 regarding the reconciliation of provisions of Ordinance 21, s. 2018 or the “Safe Streets and Public Spaces Ordinance of Baguio City” which was passed in 2018, with that of Republic Act 11313 or the “Safe Spaces Act” signed into law on April 17, 2019.
The consultations also served as information and dissemination campaign on the provisions of said laws for better understanding, awareness and appreciation of the public for effective implementation, promotion, and support to meet its purpose and objectives pursuant to State policy to value the dignity of every person and guarantee full respect for human rights and the recognition of the fundamental equality of women and men before the law.
Both measures endeavor to promote and ensure equality, security and safety of men and women not only in private, on the streets, public spaces, online, workplaces and educational and training institutions, thus, prohibit and penalize the following acts which were not covered under Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995.
The first degree/group of punishable acts (or verbal) are: cursing, wolf-whistling, catcalling, leering and intrusive gazing, taunting, unwanted invitations, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, and sexist slurs, persistent unwanted comments on one’s appearance, relentless requests for one’s personal details such as name, contact and social media details or destination, the use of words, gestures or actions that ridicule on the basis of sex gender or sexual orientation, identity and/or expression including sexist, homophobic, and transphobic statements and slurs, the persistent telling of sexual jokes, use of sexual names, comments and demands, and any statement that has made an invasion on a person’s personal space or threatens the person’s sense of personal safety.
The second degree/group of punishable acts (or displaying) are: making offensive body gestures at someone, and exposing private parts for the sexual gratification of the perpetrator with the effect of demeaning, harassing, threatening or intimidating the offended party including flashing of private parts, public masturbation, groping, and similar lewd sexual actions.
The third degree/group are: stalking, and any of the acts mentioned in the first and second group/degree, when accompanied by touching, pinching or brushing against the body of the offended person; or any touching, pinching, or brushing against the genitalia, face, arms, anus, groin, breasts, inner thighs, face, buttocks or any part of the victim’s body even when not accompanied by acts mentioned in first and second group/degree.
Compared to the lighter penalties provided in the ordinance, punishments in RA 11313 are as follows:
For the first group/degree: First offense shall be punished by a fine of P1,000 and community service of 12 hours inclusive of attendance to a gender sensitivity seminar to be conducted by the Philippine National Police in coordination with the local government unit and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW); second offense – arresto menor (six to 10 days) or a fine of P3,000, and for the third offense – arresto menor (11 to 30 days) and a fine of P10,000.
For the second group/degree: First offense shall be punished by a fine of P10,000 and community service of 12 hours inclusive of attendance to a gender sensitivity seminar, to be conducted by the PNP in coordination with the LGU and the PCW; second offense – arresto menor (11 to 30 days) or a fine of P15,000, and for the third offense – arresto mayor (one month and one day to six months) and a fine of P20,000.
The third group/degree: First offense – arresto menor (11 to 30 days) or a fine of P30,000, with attendance to gender sensitivity seminar, to be conducted by the PNP in coordination with the LGU and the PCW; second offense – arresto mayor (one month and one day to six months) or a fine of P50,000; and third offense – arresto mayor in its maximum period or a fine of P100,000.
Inputs of attendees/stakeholders from the 128 barangays and resource persons, including insights and suggestions from concerned offices and agencies involved in the enforcement and implementation of RA 11313 would be considered in the amendment of the ordinance to make it legally valid and enforceable.