House moves to ban, criminalize hazing

House moves to ban, criminalize hazing

- in News, Philippines
Image: PhilStar

The House subcommittee on prosecutorial reforms approved on Tuesday, Sept. 26, a substitute bill that repeals the anti-hazing law, criminalizes hazing and holds fraternity and sorority officials liable to death or injury resulting from hazing.

The approval of the unnumbered substitute bill to House Bill 3467 authored by Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Party-list, Bagong Henerasyon) comes amid a congressional investigation on the death of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio Tomas Castillo III from alleged hazing.

House Bill 3467 is titled “An Act Prohibiting Hazing And Regulating Other Forms Of Initiations Rites Of Fraternities And Sororities And Other Organizations And Providing Penalties For Violation Thereof, Repealing For The Purpose Of Republic Act No. 8049.”

RA 8049, also known as “An Act Regulating Hazing And Other Forms Of Initiation Rites In Fraternities, Sororities, And Other Organizations And Providing Penalties Therefor” was enacted in 1995.

“The main difference is that in RA 8049, we are regulating hazing while in the bill, we are proposing to completely prohibit any form of hazing,”

– Rep. Herrera-Dy.

Herrera-Dy said during the hearing presided by Rep. Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro) that since 2000, many of the reported deaths due to hazing did not lead to the serving of justice to the victims and their families.

Umali, chairman of the committee on justice, said the bill is very timely and forms a crucial part in the effort to reform the criminal justice system.

The bill provides that “if a person subjected to hazing or other forms of initiation rites suffers any physical and psychological injury or dies as a result thereof, the officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be held liable as principals.

The bill will require organization planning initiation ceremonies to obtain written approval from school authorities, local government units, and the barangay where the fraternities, sororities and other organizations are based, not later than seven days (7) prior to the scheduled initiation date, and that at least two representatives of the school or supervisory organization must also be present during initiation to ensure that violence will not be employed.

Likewise, it requires all existing fraternities, sororities, and other organizations otherwise not created or organized by the school, with existing members who are students, or plan to recruit students to be their members, to register with the proper authorities of the school before they conduct activities whether on, or off campus; including the recruitment of members.

Fraternities, sororities and other organizations not based in school, such as those that are community-based, are, likewise, covered by the prohibition under the Act.

During the hearing, resource persons from the Supreme Court, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Office of the Ombudsman, Public Attorney’s Office, Commission of Higher Education, National Youth Commission (NYC), Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police Academy, and Philippine Military Academy expressed their full support for the passage of the bill.

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