Statement of the Commission on Human Rights commending the Muntinlupa government’s newly-passed ordinance against gender-based sexual harassment

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights commending the Muntinlupa government’s newly-passed ordinance against gender-based sexual harassment

The Commission on Human Rights, unwavering in its advocacy of ensuring safe spaces for individuals regardless of their identities, strongly lauds the city government of Muntinlupa for passing City Ordinance No. 2023-077, also known as the “Respeto sa Kapwa Muntinlupeño” ordinance, that aims to castigate and penalize perpetrators of unwanted sexual remarks and actions in public spaces.

In an effort to combat all forms of harassment and discrimination, especially towards women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) community, the ordinance is set to punish offenders who commit implicit and explicit homophobic, misogynistic, and sexist comments against citizens of the city of Muntinlupa. Those who are found guilty of the aforementioned offenses will make reparations in accordance with Republic Act No. 11313, otherwise known as the Safe Spaces Act.

Blatant harassment and inherently discriminatory acts continue to prevail in the Philippines, whether they may take place in the online or real-life setting. There have been numerous cases nationwide of harassment motivated by and related to gender identity, ranging from microaggressions and disadvantages in the workplace to violence and death. Thus, it must be continuously emphasized that localized efforts to pass ordinances that protect one’s citizens from discrimination are important in ensuring equality within one’s respective jurisdiction. Efforts at the municipality level also help ensure direct impact in the lives of the vulnerable sectors who frequently experience discrimination and harmful treatment.

The Commission commends the city of Muntinlupa for their adherence to the principles promoted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 190 on Violence and Harassment, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Yogyakarta Principles, Republic Act No. 11313—the Safe Spaces Act, and RA 9262—the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act, among others, in taking on a proactive role to create safer spaces for vulnerable minorities. We look forward to the meaningful implementation of the ordinance to ensure that it will genuinely curb gender-based sexual harassment.

The Commission encourages other local governments to emulate and take inspiration from the city of Muntinlupa’s initiative of protecting the rights of their citizens. Moreover, we also hope that the increasing support and initiatives at the local level will help pave the urgency to pass of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) equality bill.  Through continuous promotion of human dignity and equality, we may be able to build communities rooted in security and non-violence for the common good of the people. ###