In a profound effort to create a safe and inclusive environment within the MSU Gensan campus, a seminar-training on the Safe Spaces Act, also known as the Anti-Bastos Law, aimed to educate and empower the academic community on the importance of gender-based sexual harassment prevention and awareness, was held at the RSRC on August 25, 2023.
The seminar commenced with a warm welcome and an insightful program overview by Dr. Diane Mae Ulanday-Lozano, Director of the Center for Women Studies. She emphasized the critical need for an act on campus that protects the safety and dignity of all students and employees.
The centerpiece of the seminar was the comprehensive discussion of the Safe Spaces Act (RA 11313) by Atty. Hanna-Tunisia F. Usman, University Legal Officer She provided a thorough understanding of the act, commonly referred to as the “Bawal Bastos Law.” She highlighted the scope of the law, which defines gender-based sexual harassment in streets and public spaces.
Atty. Usman elaborated on the different areas within the campus where such harassment can occur, stressing the importance of awareness and prevention. She emphasized the significance of learning the Safe Spaces Act and its various sections, as it empowers individuals with knowledge of their rights and obligations.
“As citizens, it is essential to understand the boundaries of our actions for harmonious coexistence,” Atty. Usman stated, encouraging everyone to embody MSU’s core values. The seminar provided an interactive and conversational platform to address the various types of gender-based sexual harassment, fostering a deeper understanding of this pervasive issue. “Let’s learn how to be human. Learn how to respect other people,” she added, resonating with the audience and emphasizing the importance of mutual respect and consideration for all members of the academic community.
Following the informative sessions, an open forum provided an opportunity for attendees, including the OSAS Director, the Prefect of Discipline from CETD, and medical team representatives, to seek clarifications and pose questions. Faculty members were also actively engaged in the discussion. Moreover, Dr. Ulanday-Lozano discussed an overall synthesis and outlined future initiatives planned by the IPDM (Institute of Peace and Development in Mindanao). She stressed the importance of fully integrating the peace process into the university’s activities.
Cultural Affairs Office Director, Dr. Alma Celesthia D. Aguja, was tasked with giving the closing remarks to conclude the enlightening activities of the day. In her speech, she encouraged everyone, “Let’s continue equipping ourselves with knowledge about the Safe Spaces Act.” She also announced the approval of a project that would further disseminate information about the act through seminars involving faculty, staff, and students, thus ensuring a wider understanding and application of the Safe Spaces Act within the institution.