Caloocan mayor addresses buzz over ordinance that restricts clothing

March 27, 2019 - 6:35 PM
Oscar Malapitan, Caloocan City mayor, passed an ordinance requiring residents to wear decent clothing. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)

Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan tried to explain the criticized ordinance on clothing, that requires its residents to look “decent” in public and not to restrict their wardrobe choices.

City officials recently implemented again an old city ordinance 0439 prohibiting residents from being topless and wearing skimpy shorts in public. It sparked online conversations on victim-blaming and misogyny.

Malapitan expressed on Facebook that the measure passed by the previous city councilor in 2007 under then mayor Enrico Echiverri was meant to encourage people be “decently attired” in public places, particularly in government offices.

He attached screenshots of the ordinance to the post.

The Caloocan City Government headed by Mayor Oscar Malapitan clarified that the 2007 dress code in public places…

Posted by Mayor Oscar "OCA" Malapitan on Tuesday, March 26, 2019


The ordinance titled “Caloocan City Dress Code in Public Places” states that it “seeks to prescribe appropriate and acceptable manner of wearing clothes in public places in the city, such as but not limited to, sidewalks, roads, markets, plazas, parks, and other recreational places.”

It specifies in Section 2 that “all persons must be properly and decently attired, while moving about in public places within the city such as but not limited to sidewalks, roads, markets, plazas, parks, and recreational facilities.”

Penalties range from the offender getting reprimanded to rendering community service of up to four days.

It was not meant to prohibit people from wearing shorts, Malapitan added, and even ordered city councilors to update these provisions.

“For me, I really want the ordinance to be repealed as I stand for equal rights to freedom and I believe that all women should be respected no matter what they wear,” Malapitan said.

He also encouraged victims of sexual harassment to speak out and seek for help.