PCW, SM Supermalls jointly conduct 1st nationwide orientation on the Safe Spaces Act to SM frontliners
The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and SM Supermalls jointly conducted an orientation on the Republic Act 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act (Bawal Bastos Law) last October 3, 2023 to its employees nationwide. Undersecretary Atty. Benjo Santos M. Benavidez of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Workers’ Welfare and Protection Cluster served as the resource speaker.
The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and SM Supermalls conducted the first nationwide orientation on the Republic Act 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act (Bawal Bastos Law) to its 7,614 mall employees, tenants, security and janitorial personnel last October 3, 2023 at the Mall of Asia Arena Annex Building Auditorium and simultaneously shown in different SM malls.
The Safe Spaces Act hybrid orientation is a joint initiative of the PCW and SM to aid in the advocacy and information dissemination activities on laws related to gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE).
Serving as the resource speaker, Undersecretary Atty. Benjo Santos M. Benavidez of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Workers’ Welfare and Protection Cluster discussed the salient features of the law and explained the acts of gender-based sexual harassment (GBSH) committed in public spaces like malls. He also enlightened the participants on how they can help address and prevent GBSH as SM frontliners, presenting relevant scenarios.
The first orientation on the Safe Spaces Act was attended by 7,614 employees in person and virtually from all SM branches nationwide.
In their respective speeches, PCW Executive Director and Officer-in-Charge Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves and SM Supermalls Senior Vice President for Operations Engr. Bien C. Mateo affirmed the important roles of the mall employees particularly its security and janitorial personnel in making their facilities a safe space for all.
Atty. Yuzon-Chaves commended SM Supermalls for its commitment and emphasized that the event is a convergence milestone of the public and private sectors as well as a step forward in attaining President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s thrust of a Bagong Pilipinas.
“I really hope that other key important players in the private sector will follow suit in raising the awareness and consciousness of stakeholders on how we can really make public spaces truly safe spaces for every Juana and Juan”, Atty. Yuzon-Chaves said.
From left to right: SM Supermalls Senior Vice President for Operations Engr. Bien C. Mateo, DOLE Undersecretary Atty. Benjo Santos M. Benavidez, PCW Executive Director and Officer-in-Charge Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves, Ms. Anita E. Baleda (Chief GAD Specialist of the PCW Policy Development, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division), Atty. Pearly Joan Jayagan Turley (Assistant Vice President of the Corporate Compliance Group of SM Supermalls), and PCW Deputy Executive Director for Management Services Atty. Khay Ann Magundayao-Borlado.
For his part, Engr. Mateo reminded that all SM frontliners should always be committed to uphold the law, particularly the Safe Spaces Act (Bawal Bastos Law) for the safety of all mall goers regardless of gender.
The Safe Spaces Act covers all forms of GBSH committed in street and public spaces, educational or training institutions, workplace, as well as online space. GBSH refers to any act committed through unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person regardless of the motive. These include catcalling, persistent uninvited comments or gestures, relentless requests for personal details, statement of sexual comments and suggestions, public masturbation or flashing of private parts, unwanted verbal or physical advances, persistent telling of sexual jokes, use of sexual names, and stalking.
PCW’s Deputy Executive Director for Management Services Atty. Khay Ann Magundayao-Borlado and Chief GAD Specialist Anita E. Baleda of the Policy Development, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division also graced the event along with SM’s Assistant Vice President of the Corporate Compliance Group Atty. Pearly Joan Jayagan Turley and Vice President of the Corporate Compliance Group Engr. Liza B. Silerio.
Read more on the Safe Spaces Act here.