A 20-year-old man has been arrested for verbally harassing his neighbour in violation of a Quezon City law against catcalling.
According to the woman’s complaint, she was playing with her dogs last Friday (March 1) when the man repeatedly shouted out to her from the terrace of a nearby house.
The construction worker wolf whistled, asked for her cell phone number, repeatedly called her “Beh” — Filipino slang for baby — and said he wished he were one of her pets.
The 22-year-old woman then filed a complaint for verbal harassment against the suspect, resulting in Novaliches police arresting him the next day.
Writing on social media, the complainant later said that the man claimed not to know there was an ordinance prohibiting catcalling.
However, she added: “But every man in the Philippines should know that harassment in any form is unacceptable.
“Ladies, it’s time to exercise our right to feel safe in the streets and places we go to, even if it means bearing the shame of narrating the incident to authorities.”
The suspect, who denies the accusations against him, will be charged in the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.
Under Ordinance Nunber 2501 light violations — including cursing, catcalling, repeatedly asking the subject for a date or a contact number, or taunting a woman with constant talk about sex — are punishable with a fine of up to 1,000 pesos or a maximum of one month in jail.
In 2015, Quezon City became the place in the country to join a UN Women’s global programme to prevent sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls in public spaces. Among the other 26 cities taking part were New York, Mexico City and Cairo.
In February 2017, we reported on a similar law being considered for the country as a whole. As well as penalising “street harassment”, the bill proposed by Senator Risa Hontiveros also proposed cracking down on homophobic and transphobic abuse.
Furthermore, we have also reported on a similar city-wide ban being considered for Baguio. and Manila. However, in all these cases the bills are yet to be passed.
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