DAGUPAN CITY — Street harassment of women, such as catcalling, upskirting and the like, will soon be penalized in this city.
The city council approved on Monday draft City Ordinance No. 0671 providing protection to women against street harassment and imposing a penalty for its violation.
“We want our women, our girls, to feel safe in public places in Dagupan City. Let us all get involved in efforts to reduce this violence because girls and women have the right to enjoy their freedom and live full lives,” author of the ordinance, Councilor Maybelyn dela Cruz-Fernandez, said in an interview Tuesday.
The ordinance defines street harassment as comments, gestures, and actions of a sexual nature forced on a woman in a public place without her consent.
It is a form of sexual harassment that consists of leering, ogling, stalking, obscene gestures, catcalling, wolf-whistling, sexual jokes, and touching intimate body parts of a woman, among others.
Fernandez said her ordinance pays particular attention only to street harassment to women.
She noted that although women may also harass men in public, it is the latter who largely dominate the offender side.
Violation of any provision of the ordinance will be meted with a fine and community service, she added.
An offended woman or girl may report to the authorities comprising barangay officials, Public Order and Safety Office, Dagupan City Police Station, at the city government’s anti-bullying or child protection hotline 0933-378-8888; or Women Protection hotline 0947-508-8888.
If the offender or violator is not more than 15 years of age, Fernandez said he shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant to Republic Act No. 9344, of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.
Once signed into law by Mayor Belen Fernandez, the councilwoman said copies will be provided to all school administrators as part of the education or information campaign. Liwayway Yparraguirre/PNA-northboundasia.com