“Three out of five women have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lifetime” said by Atty. Rexford D. Guevarra, Officer-in-Charge of the Commission on Human Rights Region IV-A during his presentation of Republic Act (RA) No. 11313 of 2019 entitled, “Safe Spaces Act”, or more commonly known as the “Bawal Bastos Law” in the annual Regional Men’s Summit on November 25 via Zoom videoconference and Facebook Livestream. The Summit was initiated by the CALABARZON Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) of the Regional Development Council .
The Bawal Bastos Law amended RA7877 or the “Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995” to include acts of Gender-Based Sexual Harassment (GBSH) cases not only in offices or work places, and training and educational institutions, but also GBSH committed in public spaces and in online platforms. It recognizes that both men and women must have equality, security, as well as safety in private and public spaces. Violations of the Act including fines and imprisonment were also presented. From January to October of 2021, Police Lieutenant Marissa A. Rabanal of the Philippine National Police Region IV-A reported that there were a total of 14 RA11313-related cases from four CALABARZON provinces.
Highlighting the important role of local government units (LGUs) in the implementation of the law, Mr. Arvin A. Vinluan of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region IV-A presented the DILG and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-001: “Guidelines on the Localization of the Safe Spaces Act”. According to Mr. Vinluan, the JMC provides guidelines on the localization of the Bawal Bastos Law and its implementing rules and regulations which include the conduct of awareness campaigns and capacity building activities for LGUs, and for DILG to monitor and submit reports to PCW on LGU compliance with the law.
In support to the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women, participants, led by Dir. Luis G. Banua of NEDA Region IV-A, affirmed their commitment to adhere to the law by reciting the Safe Spaces Pledge through an audio-visual presentation in the event.
Benjamin Jose G. Bautista, NEDA Region IV-A | November 29, 2021