Lawmaker wants ‘ghosting’ declared an emotional offense

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 26) — A lawmaker has filed a bill seeking to declare the act of “ghosting” — or ending communication with someone without explanation — a form of emotional abuse.

In House Bill No. 611 which was released to the media on Tuesday, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. said ghosting causes trauma as it “develops feelings of rejection and neglect.”

“Studies have shown that social rejection of any kind activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain, meaning there's a biological link between rejection and pain. That goes for friends and partners, alike,” Teves said.

“It can be likened to a form of emotional cruelty and should be punished as an emotional offense,” he added.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' The Final Word on Wednesday, Teves also explained the emotional abuse caused by ghosting is also detrimental to the nation's productivity.

"If you're a worker that is not in a good state of mind, yung trabaho mo ay hindi ganun kaganda dahil na-ghost ka (your work will be affected because you have been ghosted)," Teves said.

The lawmaker added he did not indicate any proposed penalty as he needs to consult his colleagues in further refining the measure.

"For me, the offense should not be heavy. We can an impose a penalty of community service for offenders to realize that ghosting is not right," Teves said.

Earlier, Teves also filed a controversial bill pushing for the renaming of the country's main gateway Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport. In filing the bill, he wrongly claimed that the air hub, which was previously called the Manila International Airport, was constructed during the late dictator’s presidency.

The airport has been in operation long before the late Marcos ruled the country from 1965 to 1986. He declared martial law in 1972, and Ninoy Aquino — one of Marcos’ staunchest critics — was assassinated at the tarmac of the airport in 1983.