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Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday urged the voters to choose candidates who would not perpetuate sexist and discriminatory behavior.

Hontiveros made the appeal during a “Bawal Bastos” press conference as she and gender rights groups asked President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act into law.

The bicameral version of the Safe Streets and Public Places Act was earlier approved in February. The bill is now pending with Malacanang, awaiting Duterte’s signature to become a law.

Hontiveros, principal sponsor and author of the measure in the Senate, said that the proposed law, which penalizes gender-based street harassment, can be “an effective barometer for choosing candidates in the upcoming mid-term elections.”

“If we want our schools, parks, homes and communities to be safe from gender-based violence and harm, then the best leaders are those who do not use violence to wield power over others,” said Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women.

“If we want our communities to be places of peace, then our leaders should be those who build and encourage peace themselves and will not shy away from holding those who harass and victimize others to account,” she added.

The Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act penalizes all forms of street harassment such as cat-calling, wolf whistling, and persistent requests for another person’s contact information without consent. Quezon City and Manila have successfully passed and implemented their own local ordinances against street harassment, with similar efforts being undertaken by IPG in Antipolo.

The press briefing was organized by the Institute for Politics and Governance (IPG), Akbayan-Women as well as the Damayan ng Maralitang Pilipinong Api (DAMPA), in celebration of Women’s Month.

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