Bawal ang Bastos Bill
On April 17, 2019, the previously known as the “Bawal ang Bastos” bill or Republic Act 11313 – Safe Spaces Act, was signed into law.
Said Bill aimed of ensuring an individual’s sense of personal space and public safety. The law focus on gender-based sexual harassment in public areas such as streets, privately-owned places open to the public, and public utility vehicles, among others. It also included the protection even to cyberspace and provides for prohibited acts and their corresponding penalties.
Prior to the passing of the law, there were several Local Government Units who have passed ordinances in their respective cities in the effort to put a stop to what they call “catcalling”, “panghihipo”, lewd words, etc.
With the passing of the law, local government units are mandated to pass ordinances localizing the applicability of the Safe Spaces Act. The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Women and Children’s
Protection Desk (WCPD) of the PNP have been given the task of apprehending violators of the law.
With regard to online cases, the task falls on the Anti-Cybercrime Group of the PNP (PNPPACG).
In addition to penalizing acts of the gender-based sexual harassment in public places, the Safe Spaces Act also expands the 1995 Anti-Sexual Harassment Act. Formerly, sexual harassment was only punished when committed by someone who has authority, influence or moral ascendancy over the victim. Under the Safe Space Act, acts committed between peers, by a subordinate to a superior officer, by a student to a teacher, or by a trainee to a trainer are now covered as punishable sexual harassment.
The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of the Philippines is a private, non-stock, non-profit, non-sectarian, service-oriented, and charitable organization that was found in 1948. It aims to develop the physical, social, intellectual, moral and spiritual wellbeing of women and girls in accordance with the Christian ideals for which the movement is deeply rooted. True to its vision of An association, fully inclusive of age, faith, creed and status using collective women power for social change and transformation partners with the National Council of Women of the Philippines (NCWP) – the umbrella organization of all women’s organization in the country to conduct A forum on RA 11313 – Safe Spaces Act to better understand this law and help women and young women to be empowered through this law and in partnership with the Philippine Women’s University, the first university or women founded by Asians led by Mrs. Francisca Tirona Benitez who also founded the Civic Assembly of Women which is now the NCWP. The forum hopes to provide awareness to the community and stakeholders as well.