A veteran lawmaker has lauded the swift action of the Philippine National Police or the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation or NBI on the case of hazing victim Guillo Servando.
With NBI preparing to file a case against hazing perpetrators, Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian expressed hope that there will be no more hazing victims after Servando’s death.
“The authorities have been handling the case speedily. The filing of charges against Tau Gamma Phi fraternity members, however, is only the start of the long process to attain justice for Guillo and his fellow neophytes,” Gatchalian said.
“I hope the PNP and the NBI will not waver in their efforts to bring justice to the victims,” he added.
Gatchalian, a member for the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, issued the statement after the Justice department has provisionally admitted in their protection program a suspect and keeping two more suspects under their custody.
The veteran lawmaker also launched an anti-hazing poster and sticker campaign, urging the public to remain vigilant against fraternity violence. A sample of the anti-hazing logo was shown by the legislator in the weekly media forum at Serye Restaurant in Quezon City.
On Tuesday, the former Valenzuela City mayor filed the Servando Act, which seeks to repeal the measure regulating hazing and make the activity totally prohibited, increasing the penalties for the convicted while expanding the liability of schools housing involved fraternities or sororities.
LGUs to partner with frats
During a media forum at Serye restaurant in Quezon City on Thursday, Gatchalian also urged local government units or LGUs to tie up with fraternities and sororities on community development, saying such move discourages fraternity violence, including hazing.
“As long as these groups are peaceful and do not promote and maintain a culture of abuse, they can actually be partners of our LGUs in developing communities. Their sense of camaraderie can be harnessed in a positive, more productive way,” the solon said.
Gatchalian, who is also a senior vice chair of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, cited Valenzuela City’s Local Anti-Organized Crime Unit (LAOCU), which he and then-Vice Mayor Anthony Espiritu created following problems on fraternity violence during his stint as city mayor.
“We told them that we are watching and monitoring their activities at we know what is happening. If they perform hazing or start a frat war, the local government will have to step in. After five years, the number of fraternity violence decreased,” Gatchalian recalled.
Fraternities in his bailiwick such as the Tau Gamma Phi, Alpha Kappa Rho, and the Magic 5 Brotherhood were asked to submit a list of their key officials and hierarchy to local authorities in 2010 to promote accountability among the groups.
Task Force LAOCU, renamed last year as Task Force on Fraternities and Gangs Intervention and Prevention or TAFFGIP recently trained 38 members of the mentioned fraternities as volunteers for search and rescue operations, in coordination with the Valenzuela City Disaster Preparedness Office.
Mandated to promote harmony among fraternities and prevent their members from being involved with crimes and vices, the TAFFGIP partnered with fraternities to aid two public elementary schools in their Brigada Eskwela last May.
“It’s a good case study because we were able to make them a part of the community. They became productive members of the society,” he noted. (Monica Cantilero)