On April 2019, the Safe Spaces or “Bawal Bastos” law was enacted which seeks to protect any person from gender-based sexual harassment in public spaces. The law seeks to address the many gaps which is not covered by the sexual harassment under the previous legal framework and to promote gender equality wherein persons may be free from duress and any kind of external pressure from doing their ordinary lives.
Of particular importance is the widening of the scope of what constitutes sexual harassment and where it can take place. In sum, the law also contemplates that sexual harassment may also emanate from a colleague and not just from someone in the workplace who is a superior or who has moral ascendancy. In this regard, any person may be an offender if s/he has made a transphobic, sexist comments.
It also contemplates online spaces as part of the “public space”. Before the enactment of this act, sexual harassment may only committed in the workplace, educational or training environment.
The Safe Spaces Act does not, in any way, supersede the Sexual Harassment Act. If the offender qualifies for both offenses under the law, he shall be liable therefor.