‘Bawal bastos’: LTFRB warns PUV operators, drivers vs sexual harassment
MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday warned public utility vehicle (PUV) operators of the penalties for committing, failing to prevent, and not reporting cases of gender-based sexual harassment.
Through Memorandum Circular No. 2023-016, the LTFRB called on PUV operators “to ensure that no acts of gender-based sexual harassment acts are committed inside PUVs, or that any commission thereof is properly attended to and reported to the proper authorities.”
“We are directing our PUV operators, drivers, conductors, and their employees, through this memorandum circular, to make sure that that safe space is protected at all times against sexual harassment of any form,” said LTFRB chair Teofilo Guadiz III in a statement.
“It will be their responsibility to prevent and report the commission of these acts against their passengers and, more importantly, make sure that they are not the ones who will commit these acts themselves because the consequences will be harsh,” he added.
Under the memo, specific acts of gender-based sexual harassment defined under Section 11, Article 1 of Republic Act 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act, such as cursing, catcalling, unwanted comments, sexist slurs, gestures, or actions that ridicule based on sex, gender or sexual orientation, harmful statements, sexual jokes, statements that invade a person’s personal space, offensive gestures, exposing private parts, groping, other similar lewd sexual actions, stalking, touching, pinching or brushing against another person’s body part, among others, are deemed punishable actions and are meted penalties.
According to Guadiz, PUV operators, drivers, conductors, and employees who are caught committing gender-based sexual harassment acts will be fined P5,000 with their vehicle suspended for six months for the first offense; a P10,000 fine and a one-year vehicle suspension for the second offense; and a P15,000 fine and revocation of the vehicle’s Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) for the third offense.
On the other hand, if the PUV operator, driver, conductor, or employees fail to prevent the commission of the act and report it to authorities, then a P5,000 fine shall be imposed for the first offense, a P10,000 fine and suspension of the involved vehicle for three months for the second offense, and finally a P15,000 fine and vehicle CPC revocation for the third offense.
Aside from the penalties, the LTFRB may also recommend to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to suspend or cancel the vehicle driver’s license under RA 11313.
Meanwhile, the circular also directs all PUV operators to post signage such as “BAWAL ANG BASTOS!” (LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2023-016), and “ISUMBONG SA LTFRB! 24/7 Hotline: 1342 Email: email@example.com.” Failure to comply, said LTFRB, would violate the terms and conditions of the CPC, and penalties will be imposed under Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01.
The said memo covers all PUV operators who were granted Certificates of Public Convenience (CPC), Provisional Authority (PA), or Special Permits by the LTFRB, including their drivers, conductors, and employees, but excluding Truck-for-Hire (TH) services.