Taytay, Rizal’s Facebook misinforms constituents on the new Safe Spaces Act or Bawal Bastos Law

August 12, 2019 - 6:34 PM
Taytay, Rizal
City hall of Taytay, Rizal (Official Website of Taytay/Released)

A recent post from the Facebook page of Taytay, Rizal misinterpreted a provision in the Safe Spaces Act on prohibiting cursing as a form of sexual harassment in public.

The graphic stated that cursing in public metes out a punishment of P10,000 or 30-day imprisonment and claimed it was part of the new Safe Spaces Act.

It was posted on August 11 and immediately made rounds with 6,600 shares.

“May kakilala ka bang mahilig magmura? Alam mo bang ipinagbawal na ito ayon sa Bawal Bastos Law o Safe Spaces Act?” the graphic said.

May kakilala ka bang mahilig magmura? Alam mo bang ipinagbabawal na ito ayon sa “Bawal Bastos Law” o Safe Spaces Act sa…

Posted by Taytay, Rizal Office of the Mayor on Sunday, August 11, 2019

Some of its constituents are also not happy with this post based on the comments section. They noted that there are other pressing issues in the city to focus on aside from swearing.

Comment from Rizal post
(Screenshot by Interaksyon)
Comment from Rizal post2
(Screenshot by Interaksyon)

Looking at the Safe Spaces Act’s provisions, what was prohibited is cursing aimed to harass a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

Section 4 specifically stated that “any unwanted action or uninvited sexual actions or remarks against a person regardless of the motive for committing such action or remarks” are considered crimes under the measure.

These actions include “misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic and sexist slurs.”

Meanwhile, the type of slurs or curses are mentioned again in section 11, wherein acts such as “cursing” and “misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic and sexist slurs” against a person’s appearance, sexual orientation and identity have penalties based on the number of offenses.

These range from a fine of P10,000 and 12-day community service for the first offense to P20,000 and arresto mayor (1 month and 1 day to 6 months) for the third offense.

Swearing is not really that bad

In November 2018, Baguio City implemented a similar ordinance that banned its residents from swearing and cussing at selected establishments and institutions.

Former Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan ratified Ordinance 118, Series of 2018 wherein “cursing, cussing, expressing insults or the use foul language” is prohibited in schools, computer shops, arcades and other establishments frequented by students.

There’s no national law that restricts a person from the use of profanity or foul language in general.

Recent studies actually found that swearing out loud can help those with lower pain threshold sustain physical pain. Meanwhile, others argued that cussing is a built-in human impulse.

It can be a form of oral defamation or harassment, however, if the expletives are hurled or thrown at a particular person.

Oral defamation or slander is punishable based on Articles 358 and 359 of the Revised Penal Code, meanwhile, harassment is considered a crime under the Safe Spaces Act.