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Solon lauds Malacanang decision to form Hazing Law review task force

A veteran lawmaker has lauded Malacanang’s decision to form a task force that will review the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 as this will be a big boost to the current effort in the House of Representatives to come out with a new law that will totally ban all forms of hazing.


“The creation of an inter-agency task force to review the Anti-Hazing Law is a step toward the right direction as this will boost the ongoing campaign against hazing and will also strengthen the government’s response to fraternity violence,” Gatchalian said.


He pointed that the move of President Aquino shows his concern to parents and educators on the problem of hazing and the need to ensure that justice will be given to hazing victims and their families.


Gatchalian is the principal author of House Bill No. 4714, also known as the Servando Act that seeks a total ban to all forms of hazing. The “Servando Act” is now with the technical working group (TWG) of the House committee on revision of laws chaired by Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas.


During last week’s hearing on HB 4714, Gatchalian was appointed by the committee to lead the TWG, which has been tasked to consolidate all proposed hazing-related measures filed before the House of Representatives.


The TWG will consolidate Gatchalian’s “Servando Act” together with similar bills filed by Ako Bikol party-list Rep. Christopher Co, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, and Bacolod City Rep. Evelio Leonardia.


The Gatchalian-led TWG is scheduled to hold a meeting tomorrow to come up with a consolidated bill that will ban all forms of hazing in fraternities, sororities, other student organizations, and even in military schools and allied organizations.


“I’ll do my best to hasten the passage of the proposed amendments in the Anti-Hazing Act of 1995. The enforcers should have more ammunition in imposing the law. That’s why I plan to make the provisions very clear to make the enforcement of sanctions and prosecution easier for the authorities and the judiciary,” Gatchalian said.


Gatchalian’s HB 4714 will repeal Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law which proved to be toothless in not only preventing hazing but also in going after those responsible for such violent acts, including school authorities who always keep a policy of silence on the matter.


The stalwart of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) pointed to a Philippine National Police (PNP) report which shows 11 hazing-related fatalities from 2000 to June 2014, saying that Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 was ineffective in stop violent initiation rites in colleges and universities.


“In order to stop hazing, it must be recognized by the law for what it is – a barbaric criminal act that compromises the integrity of any organization that employs it as a means of initiation. According to its formal title, R.A. 8049 merely seeks to regulate hazing when it should ban it outright,” Gatchalian said.


“Anything less than the express prohibition and criminalization of hazing is not enough,” Gatchalian said in his explanatory note.


Gatchalian’s filing of HB 4714 was prompted by the hazing incident involving Guillo Cesar Servando, a sophomore student of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (DLS-CSB) who died last June 28 due to injuries from hazing conducted by members of the CSB chapter of Tau Gamma Phi Fraternitas.


Mr. Aurelio Servando, father of the late Guillo, is supportive of the House effort to come up with a new law that will ban all forms of hazing and will not merely regulate it as what happened with the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995. (Monica Cantilero)