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Duterte Signs Law Punishing Catcalling, Sexual Harassment

FILE - Relatives of victims of President Rodrigo Duterte's so-called war on drugs hold a memorial for their loved ones, at a church in Manila, Philippines, March 17, 2019.

The Philippine president has signed a bill into law penalizing a range of acts of sexual harassment including catcalling, wolf-whistling and persistent telling of sexual jokes, which pro-women's groups have accused him of committing.

Philippine officials released on Monday a copy of Republic Act 11313, known as the ``Safe Spaces Act,'' which Duterte signed in April. The reason for the delay in its public release was not immediately clear.

The bill's main author has called the new law a ``massive victory'' against a growing culture of rude sexist actions.

The law defines a range of offensive acts, including catcalling, wolf-whistling, intrusive gazing, cursing, misogynistic acts, sexist slurs and persistent telling of sexual jokes in public or online. Punishments include fines and imprisonment depending on the gravity of the offense.