LTFRB to PUV operators: Observe law on ‘safe spaces’

March 27, 2023 Jun I. Legaspi 188 views

THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) called on all public utility vehicle (PUV) operators to observe laws related to gender-based public spaces sexual harassment acts.

In the issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2023-016, which called on PUV operators “to ensure that no acts of gender-based sexual harassment acts are committed inside PUVs, or that any commission thereof be properly attended to and reported to the proper authorities.”

The memorandum circular covers all PUV operators who were granted Certificates of Public Convenience (CPC), Provisional Authority (PA), or Special Permits by the LTFRB, including their drivers, conductors, and employees, but excluding Truck-for-Hire (TH) services.

Republic Act (RA )11313, or the “Safe Spaces Act,” defines “gender-based sexual harassment in streets, public spaces, online, workspaces, educational or training institutions, and provided protective measures and prescribed penalties therefor.”

Under the said MC, specific acts of gender-based sexual harassment defined under Section 11, Article 1 of RA 11312, such as cursing, catcalling, unwanted comments, sexist slurs, gestures or actions that ridicule based on sex, gender, or sexual orientation, harmful statements, sexual jokes, statements that invade a person’s personal space, offensive gestures, exposing private parts, groping, other similar lewd sexual actions, stalking, touching, pinching or brushing against another person’s body part, among others, are deemed punishable actions and are meted penalties.

In cases where the PUV operator, driver, conductor, and employee themselves who will commit gender-based sexual harassment acts, a fine of P5,000 and suspension of the involved vehicle for six months shall be imposed for the first offense, a P10,000 fine and a one-year vehicle suspension for the second offense, and a P15,000 fine and revocation of the vehicle’s CPC for the third offense.

On the other hand, if the PUV operator, driver, conductor, and employee fail to prevent the commission of the act and report it to authorities, a P5,000 fine shall be imposed for the first offense, P10,000 fine, and suspension of the involved vehicle for three months for the second offense, and finally a P15,000 fine and vehicle CPC revocation for the third offense.

Aside from the penalties, the LTFRB may also recommend to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to suspend or cancel the vehicle driver’s license under RA 11313.

The circular also directs all PUV operators to post signage such as “BAWAL ANG BASTOS!” (LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2023-016) and “ISUMBONG SA LTFRB! 24/7 Hotline: 1342 Email: following specific formats as prescribed by the LTFRB “in two conspicuous places inside the PUV.”

As per the circular, failure to comply is a violation of the terms and conditions of the CPC, and penalties will be imposed under Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01.

LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III has long recognized the value of providing “safe spaces” and preventing the commission of gender-based sexual harassment acts against all individuals using the country’s public land transportation system.

“We are directing our PUV operators, drivers, conductors, and their employees, through this memorandum circular, to make sure that that safe space is protected at all times against sexual harassment of any form. It will be their responsibility to prevent and report the commission of these acts against their passengers and, more importantly, make sure that they are not the ones who will commit these acts themselves because the consequences will be harsh,” Guadiz stated.