The City of Manila will now — finally — punish those who catcall and sexually harass women publicly.
Last week, City Ordinance No. 7857 authored by Manila District 4 Councilor Krystle Bacani was passed on its third and final reading.
It “will penalize all forms of sexual harassment in public spaces such as catcalling, wolf-whistling, leering, groping, and many others,” Bacani said.
Violations could result in imprisonment of between one to 15 days, or a fine ranging from PHP200 (US$3.74) to PHP1,000 (US$18.70), or even both for perpetrators.
For more serious violations like offensive body gestures and flashing private body parts (Ew!), perpetrators may be put in jail for a span of one to three months and may be fined from PHP1,000 (US$18.70) to PHP3,000 (US$56.09).
On top of that, perpetrators will also be required to attend a Gender Sensitivity Seminar regulated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Commission on Women.
In March, Philippine Senator Risa Hontiveros said that two women get harassed in Manila daily, citing police reports.
On Thursday, she lauded the passage of the ordinance and said that it was a “big victory for women.”
“This will certainly serve as an inspiration as we push for the passage of a similar policy on the national level,” she said.
Manila is not the first city in Metro Manila to go after catcalling. For instance, in April 2016, Quezon City passed a similar ordinance.
It’s been a long time coming; let’s hope other cities in the metro will follow suit.
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