Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Thursday, June 25, called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to strengthen the implementation of the Safe Spaces Act (Republic Act No. 11313), otherwise known as the “Bawal Bastos Law,” especially during the time of Covid-19 lockdowns.
“Dapat mahuli at maparusahan na ang mga online harassers at predators. Dahil marami ang online ngayong naka-quarantine, dumami din ang mga pambabastos,” said Hontiveros, who is the principal author of the law, citing the Commission on Human Rights’ report that cases of sexual harassment against women have intensified during the quarantine.
“Dapat klaro sa mga kababaihan that this law protects us from online sexual harassment. Kailangan malinaw din sa bawat Pilipino na ang mga sexist o homophobic comments at messages ay may katapat na parusa,” Hontiveros said, adding that the Bawal Bastos Law penalizes gender-based online sexual harassment through a maximum of six years in prison or a fine of not less than P100,000.
Hontiveros also mentioned that she welcomes the swift response of the bureau to address a recent online rape threat directed to Franke Pangilinan, the outspoken daughter of Sen. Francis Pangilinan and actress-singer Sharon Cuneta.
“Under no circumstances is any kind of sexual harassment acceptable, sikat man o hindi, online man o hindi. Dapat gawin itong standard para sa mga ordinaryong kababaihang nagrereklamo,” she said.
The senator additionally urged the PNP and NBI, along with local government units (LGUs), to maintain aggressive information campaigns on the kinds of online behavior that are prohibited by the law. Section 8 of the law also mandates LGUs to hold premium responsibility in the implementation of the law.
“Kung hindi naiinform ang mga tao tungkol sa batas at mga parusa, ang mga walang hiyang nambabastos ay patuloy na mambabastos. This law aims to promote cultural and behavioral changes, and if implemented properly, it will,” she said.