In time for the 2018 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) from November 25 to December 12, the Philippine Commission on Women released radio plugs that turn the spotlight on a kind of VAW that often happen in public places but usually dismissed as just a “compliment” – catcalling.
One of the most common kind of sexual harassment experienced by women in public places, catcalling is commonly defined as a sexually suggestive call or comment directed at someone in public spaces like streets and public transportation facilities. At present, only Quezon City and Manila have existing ordinances to address the issue.
The call for expanding Republic Act 7877 to cover other kinds of sexual harassment is one of the PCW’s Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda (WPLA) for the 17th Congress. The proposal has been passed at the Senate, however, it is yet to be approved at the House of Representatives.
“In the absence of a national law that penalizes such acts, we can turn to public advocacy to bring to people’s consciousness that this practice has to stop. And we thought that radio plugs would be an effective way to reach more people,” PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa noted during the Opening Program of the VAW Experiential Museum at the Mowelfund Plaza in Quezon City on December 4, 2018.
“Thus, we are thankful for this partnership with the ad agency DDB Group Philippines, for producing the radio plugs to emphasize that catcalling is never okay,” Verzosa added.
Dubbed as “The Macho Choir”, the radio campaign used three songs from our childhood that replaces the lyrics with messages against catcalling to emphasize that catcalling is a kind of sexual harassment and it is no laughing matter. Featured in this radio campaign are the songs “Sitsiritsit”, “Paa, Tuhod, Balikat, Ulo” and “Tong, Tong, Tong.” All three radio plugs are being aired in AM and FM radio stations throughout the country.
In cognizance of the crucial role of the media in ending gender-based violence, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) issued circular number 018-059 enjoining all its member radio stations to air the radio plugs from November 25 to December 12.
The Philippine Broadcasting Service-Bureau of Broadcast Services (PBS-BBS) likewise airs the radio plugs in its radio stations nationwide.
“We thank the KBP and the PBS-BBS for helping us spread public awareness on sexual harassment in public spaces. In a society where the macho culture and sexism is beginning to resurface, public discussion is a must,” said Verzosa.
“This is consistent with Section 16 of the Magna Carta of Women which provides for the allocation of space, airtime, and resources; strengthen programming, production, and image-making that appropriately present women's needs, issues, and concerns in all forms of media, communication, information dissemination, and advertising,” Verzosa ended.
PCW is also releasing lyric videos of the three plugs online through its social media handles www.facebook.com/PCWgovph and https://www.youtube.com/CommissionOnWomenPH.