The Department of Interior and Local Government or DILG has urged the House of Representatives to repeal Republic Act No. 8049 or the “Anti-Hazing Law of 1995”.
In a formal letter, DILG Undersecretary Peter Corvera expressed his department’s official position on a legislation that will either amend or repeal the 20-year-old law.
“For over two decades of implementation of RA 8049, deaths resulting from violent initiation rites have been nevertheless increasing. Thus, it appears that RA 8046 has not been effective in putting a stop on such violent act,” Corvera said.
“While we value the right of the youth and students to join and form organizations, this Department is inclined to support the prohibition of hazing in all forms as exemplified in HB Nos. 4714 and 5701,” it added.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian, who leads a technical working group (TWG) assigned to come up with a substitute bill on hazing-related bills in Congress, is the author of HB No. 4714 or the Servando Act that is proposing a total repeal of the “Anti-Hazing Law of 1995”.
Camarines Norte Rep. Catherine Barcelona-Reyes authored HB No. 5017.
The DILG undersecretary said out of the five bills tackling hazing in Lower Congress, only the bills from Gatchalian and Barcelona-Reyes actually propose the total prohibition of hazing, which is still allowed in the current anti-hazing law under certain circumstances.
Corvera explained the current anti-hazing law should be amended for the lack of power to convict the perpetrators of hazing activities over the last two decades.
The DILG undersecretary also noted that Gatchalian’s proposal in HB No. 4714 to require colleges and universities to recognize groups operating in their campus complements the right to form groups.
“This Department (DILG) finds this proposal in line with Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution regarding the right to form associations,” stated in the position paper.
Corvera explained such move would institutionalize a mechanism that aims to require fraternities and sororities to abide by the rules and regulation set forth by universities and colleges.
He added that this setup could also be a ground to hold school administrators liable in case of hazing incidents. (Timothy Alcantara)
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