Y-Speak: Catcalling, make it illegal

“HI IDOL! Sakay ka?”

I got goose bumps from hearing those words knowing that they were from strangers. It is a creepy, disgusting, stressful, and disrespectful experience.

It made me want to punch them in the face and tell them. “Stop calling me idol, my name is not Idol.”

Catcalling, is a rude remark uttered by people to someone else.

It’s a wrong behavior but many catcallers defend it saying they were not trying to be rude, they claim it was just for fun and without bad intention.

Well, it’s absolutely not funny and may be illegal. Catcalling is considered a form of sexual harassment.

Many might be uninformed but in the Philippines catcalling will soon be punishable by law. In 2017, the Senate approved Senate Bill 1558 or the “Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act of 2017”, which tags catcalling as a crime. The bill will soon be signed into law.

The law defines catcalling “as unwanted remarks directed towards a person, commonly done in form of wolf-whistling and misogynistic and sexist slurs which result to or will likely result to invasion of any person’s personal space and, to fears of one’s personal safety.”

Penalties for violating such act lead to monetary fine from P10,000 to P30,000 or 12-hour community service, with mandatory attendance in a gender sensitivity seminar, or one to 20 days in prison.

Apparently because though it does not kill instantly, it is psychologically damaging.

Catcalling invades one’s personal space and instills fear to one’s safety.

Passing a street becomes a daily struggle.

The legislative body and the executive body of the government must quickly enact this into law to ensure the safety of not only women but also to other victims of catcalling.

The government should extend efforts in ending this by educating people the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of street harassment.

Women should not ignore this issue but talk more about it to create awareness. Also, we should make use of the law to inform violators of their crimes.

Together, we build a healthier society. (May de Jesus, UM intern)


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