General Santos City Councilor Orlando Acharon. (Photo lifeted from Councilor Orlando Acharon’s Facebook account)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The City Council passed on third and final reading an ordinance defining gender-based sexual harassment and prohibited acts in the streets as public offenses.

The Anti-Catcalling Ordinance of General Santos City, authored by Councilor Orlando Acharon, aims to punish catcalling and other gender-based harassment in public spaces and online.

“The policy of the state to value the dignity of every human person and guarantee full respect for human rights should always be upheld,” Acharon said in a statement Wednesday.

The measure, also called the “Bawal Bastos  Ordinance,” was passed during the City Council's regular session Tuesday afternoon.

Acharon underscored the need to fight indecency in public places, after a study showed that 58 percent of sexual harassment cases in the country occur on the streets.

The measure defines gender-based harassment as acts or deeds considered as “gender-based street and public spaces sexual harassment are committed through unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person, regardless of the motive."

Such acts include catcalling, wolf-whistling, unwanted invitations, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, sexist slurs, persistent uninvited comments or gestures on a person’s appearance; and relentless requests for personal details, among others.

Republic Act No.11313 or the  Safe Spaces Act states that local government units shall bear the primary responsibility in enforcing the provisions of Article I (Gender-Based Streets and Public Spaces Sexual Harassment) of the same law through an ordinance.

Under the proposed ordinance, offenders will be fined PHP5,000; 40 hours of community service; and are compelled to attend a gender- sensitivity seminar. (PNA)