Press Release
May 23, 2017


In a bid to address the growing culture of rape, sexual harassment and misogyny in the country, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday conducted a hearing on a bill that seeks to penalize gender-based street and public spaces harassment.

Senate Bill No. 1326 or the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act of 2017, authored by Hontiveros, aims to prohibit and penalize gender-based harassment in public spaces such as catcalling, wolf-whistling, cursing, leering, groping, persistent request for name and contact details, and the use of words tending to ridicule on the basis of actual or perceived sex, gender expression, or sexual orientation and identity including sexist, homophobic and transphobic slurs.

Hontiveros, who is the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, said the bill seeks to complement the Anti-Sexual Harassment Law, which is limited to the workplace and superior-subordinate relations.

"With the growing number of gender-based street harassment, there is an urgent need to institutionalize strong gender lens for homophobic, transphobic and gender-based unjust vexation in our laws," Hontiveros explained.

Meanwhile, Hontiveros on Monday sponsored on the Senate plenary Senate Bill No. 1252 pushing for amendments to Republic Act No. 8353 otherwise known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 or Republic Act No. 8353.

The senator said that the 20-year old law must be radically revised to reflect the country's commitment to fighting rape and violence against women. She said that the country's Anti-rape law puts unjust burden on rape victims and is a far cry from doing justice to those aggrieved.

One of the aims of Hontiveros's bill is to increase the age of statutory consent - currently at 12 years old - to 18 years old. Hontiveros said that the country's age of sexual consent is one of the lowest in the world, and the lowest in the region.

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