Mandaue City Council pushes for Safe Space Act

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TO ATTAIN a harassment-free environment, the Mandaue City Council will soon institutionalize the Republic Act 11313 or the Safe Space Act in its jurisdiction.

The council passed on first reading the proposed ordinance authored by City Councilors Cynthia Ceniza-Remedio and Marie Immaline Cortes-Zafra during the 67th regular session on Oct. 28, 2020.

The Republic Act 11313 or the Safe Space Act was signed into law in April 2019 and as stated in its Section 8, mandates all local government unit (LGUs) to pass an ordinance to localize the applicability of the Act.

In an interview, Remedio told SunStar Cebu that this ordinance will protect all the Mandauehanons from gender-based sexual harassment such as cat-calling, uninvited comments, sexual comments, public masturbation or flashing of private parts, verbal and physical advances and stalking.

Remedio also said this ordinance will apply to all regardless of gender, religion or age.

In addition, a zero-tolerance policy must be implemented by the management of any establishment where the act took place.

This also means that measures to prevent the occurrence of these acts will also be implemented such as the installation of signs and police hotlines that are visible to the people and designating a person-in-charge to receive complaints regarding these types of incidents and assist the victim.

The establishments are also required to install functional CCTV cameras and footage shall be available to victims as part of the assistance.

Establishments or any person not compliant with the ordinance will also be held accountable for the act.

The penalties stated on RA No.11313 or the Safe Space Act will apply to any person, regardless of age, committing gender-based sexual acts.

With the creation of this ordinance with penalties and with possible detention of perpetrators, Remedios said it will be the starting point in minimizing these kinds of incidents.

The proposed ordinance was forwarded to the Committee on Laws and Ordinances and Committee on Family for any additional recommendations.

Once the committee reports will be approved, the ordinance will then proceed to the second reading and final reading, said Remedio. (KFD)