LTFRB and RA 11313: Public transport is for everyone, no to abuse and gender-based harassment

We live in an age of acceptance, with a particular openness to gender. The LTFRB strongly backs this and has warned PUV operators and drivers to ensure that no harassment occurs simply because of an individual’s gender preference. Should anyone experience such discrimination, they are strongly encouraged to report the incident, as is their right according to the law.

LTFRB reminds PUVs to observe laws in line with gender-based public spaces sexual harassment

Ltfrb No Gender Harassment Inline 01 Min

Photo: LTFRB

Back then, the world was less accepting of what used to be called “the third sex” (or gender, or genders). The world has since grown and safety, security, and respect are now part and parcel of everyone’s rights, regardless of one’s preference. In the LTFRB Board’s Memorandum Circular No. 2023-016, the agency reminded PUV drivers, operators, and conductors to ensure that no one is to be harassed while riding a PUV. This covers those vehicles granted Certificates of Public Convenience (CPC), Provisional Authority (PA), or Special Permits.

Under Republic Act 11313 otherwise known as the “Safe Spaces Act”, there will be a corresponding action against “gender-based sexual harassment” whether they happen on the street, in public places, online, at a place of work, or in places of education and training. Such acts that are punishable include expletives, catcalling, lewd or sexist statements, mocking/mockery, hurtful statements, violations of privacy, and sexual jokes, among others.

Ltfrb No Gender Harassment Teofilo Guadiz Inline 02 Min

Photo: DOTr

“We are directing our PUV operators, drivers, conductors and their employees, through this memorandum circular, to make sure 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,” said Teofilo Guadiz III, LTFRB Chairman in a statement.

It has long been recognized by the LTFRB that everyone must be given safe public transportation. The agency, therefore, remains steadfast in the implementation, observance, and enforcement of the law to make this happen for everyone in the commuting public.

Ltfrb Modern Puv Overload Apprehension Inline 03 Min

Photo: LTFRB

PUV operators, drivers, conductors, and employees reported and found in violation of the Safe Spaces Act will be fined PHP 5,000 along with a suspension of their vehicle from operating for 6 months, for the first offense. PHP 10,000 and a 1-year suspension will be meted out for the second offense, and PHP 15,000 plus the revocation of the CPC for the third offense.

On the other hand, if the same individuals (PUV operators, drivers, conductors, and employees) fail to report instances of harassment to the proper authorities, the fines are PHP 5,000, PHP 10,000 and 3-month suspension, and PHP15,000 and revocation of CPC for the first to third offenses, respectively. Other than the aforementioned penalties, the driver’s license may also be suspended or canceled as is included in RA 11313’s provisions.

Henceforth, all PUVs must have visible “BAWAL ANG BASTOS!” (LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2023-016), and “ISUMBONG SA LTFRB! 24/7 Hotline: 1342 Email: [email protected]” signs posted “in two conspicuous places inside the PUV.” Non-compliance to this order under the LTFRB’s Memo is also subject to punishment under Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01.

Should you witness any form of discrimination or harassment simply because of one’s gender, please don’t be afraid to stand up and report it. If you are one who may engage in such practices, it’s not too late to change. Public transportation is for everyone, and everyone has the right to peaceful travel. Be part of the change, yes? Good change, that is.

Mikko Juangco
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