A new ordinance approved Monday by the Provincial Board bans catcalling and other forms of sexual harassment particularly when done in public.
Board Member David Francis Ponce De Leon, its main proponent, said the ordinance aims to change the cultural mindset of males toward females while empowering women at the same time.
“It is implemented in other provinces at ang Palawan ay wala pa nito. So, that is why we are pushing, Kung saan matigil ang mga ganito through this kind of ordinance,” he said.
He added that the measure supplements the national law, Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, that protects the interest of women.
“May mga nagagawa kasi tayo minsan na hindi natin alam na bawal na pala and may mga batas before na hindi kasama itong sexual harassment,” he said.
He said, street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that consists of unwanted comments, gestures, honking, whistling, catcalling, persistent sexual advice and other manifestations which tends to affect the movement of the victims of theses unwanted acts.
Ponce De Leon said that catcalling is a serious issue and significant as men are often unware of the damage and consequences.
He added that a woman’s clothing and appearance do not justify rude and disrespectful behavior of men towards them.
“This is to prevent all kinds of sexual harassment. Hopefully, in its public consultation mapaabot natin sa ating constituents na minsan ay may nagagawa tayo,” he added.
Prohibited acts of the ordinance were defined as follows:
Light violations – catcalling, repeatedly asking woman’s name of contact details or calling in public with dirty manner.
Medium violations – stalking, making offensive body gesture and exposing private parts for sexual gratification.
Severe violations – exhibition of genitals at public areas, touching and brushing up the body of person.
Its penal provisions are as follows: first offense, P1, 000 for light and medium violations and P3, 000 for severe violations; second offense, P2, 000 for light violations, P3, 000 for medium violations and P4, 000 for severe violations. P5, 000 for light and medium violations while six months to one year arrest or a fine of P5, 000 for severe violations.