The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday urged public utility vehicle (PUV) operators to observe laws related to gender-based public space sexual harassment acts.
Its board issued Memorandum Circular No. 2023-016 calling 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 services.
Republic Act 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 memorandum circular, specific acts of gender-based sexual harassment defined under Section 11, Article 1 of RA 11313, are deemed punishable actions and are meted penalties.
In cases where the PUV operator, driver, conductor and employee themselves that would 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, a P10,000 fine and one-year vehicle suspension for the second offense, and a P15,000 fine and revocation of the vehicle’s CPC for the third offense.
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.
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: [email protected] following specific formats as prescribed by the LTFRB “in two conspicuous places inside the PUV.”
LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III 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,” he said.