Gabriela wants harsher penalties for sexual harassment in workplace, schools
MANILA, Philippines — Gabriela Women’s Party is pushing for stiffer penalties for sexual harassment in the workplace, including educational or training institutions.
GabrielaRep. Arlene Brosas filed on Wednesday House Bill No. 7376 to amend the Republic Act (RA) No. 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act in line with the Women’s Month celebration.
“This year, the Philippines is set to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the enactment of the RA 11313, or the Safe Spaces Act, which was passed into law on April 17, 2019. But, despite the law’s passage, various forms of sexual harassment and abuse have been on the rise,” pointed out Brosas in a statement.
“The imposable penalty provided under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act is not enough, considering the gravity of the crime. Increasing the penalties and expanding the coverage of the Safe Spaces Act is essential in punishing perpetrators,” the Assistant Minority Leader also said.
Based on House Bill No. 7376, any person found guilty of sexual harassment will face a penalty of prison correctional or a fine “not less than P250,000, but more than P500,000.”
Current penalties for sexual harassment committed in educational and training institutions are only available in RA 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, which states that “perpetrators may be penalized by imprisonment of not less than one month nor more than six months, or a fine of not less than P10,000 nor more than P20,000.”
Under RA 7877, persons of authority, influence, or moral ascendancy over the victims are only penalized for sexual harassment.
The Safe Spaces Act, however, expanded the definition of sexual harassment committed in the workplace as it already included those committed by peers, subordinates, students, and trainees.
Brosas also filed House Resolution No. 46 to investigate the verbal and emotional abuse cases against Philippine High School for the Arts in Laguna students.
“The cases lodged by the students against the perpetrators prompt serious reflections on how the Safe Spaces Act is being enforced, especially in schools,” Gabriela said.
READ: State arts school responds to abuse raps
Moreover, Brosas said the government should prioritize passing legislation “that would benefit vulnerable sectors and not anti-people policies like Charter Change.”
“As we celebrate Women’s Month, we must put the spotlight on the plight of women who fell victim to sexual harassment and violence,” she said.
Did You Know: March is National Women’s Month
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