An award-winning city mayor has encouraged the government to team up with fraternity groups and gangs in its bid to stop hazing deaths and turn their clan efforts to community development.
Instead of banning fraternity groups, Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian explained adopting them into the community may uphold the spirit of brotherhood these groups so desired.
“Hindi po talaga maganda [‘yung hazing] na nangyayari dahil may physical abuse but [aside from that] there are still other forms of initiation. There’s nothing wrong with fraternities,” Gatchalian said.
“There’s nothing wrong with them as long as they are peaceful, conform to the law, and does not execute any forms of physical abuse. Kung talagang meron silang advocacy (maari silang makatulong sa ating komunidad),” he added.
Gatchalian, a member of House committee on Higher and Technical Education, said the government should be able to turn these fraternity groups into productive members of the society.
Even without hazing, Gatchalian argued that the government can create other ways for fraternities to perform initiation on their new members through community programs and disaster preparedness.
“(Dapat gumawa tayo ng mga) initiation more on pakikisama and camaraderie. Walang physical abuse. Ang punto ko ay kung ‘yung fraternities per se kung gagamitin sa mabuti ay maraming pwedeng matulungan (at kasama na rin doon yung sarili nila),” he added.
Gatchalian recalled encountering similar problems when he was still the mayor of Valenzuela City that prompted him to form Local Anti-Organized Crime Unit or LAOCU together with former Vice Mayor Anthony Espiritu five years ago.
In 2010, Gatchalian called on the notorious fraternities in Valenzuela City to create a list of the key officials and hierarchy of each groups including Tau Gamma Phi, Alpha Kappa Rho, and Magic 5 Brotherhood.
“We told them that we are watching and monitoring their activities at alam namin ‘yung nangyayari.
Paglumampas sila, let’s say hazing initiation, away or frat war, papasok na ang gobyerno d’yan. (After five years), nabawasan naman ho ‘yung gulo ng mga ganitong initiation,” Gatchalian said.
“It’s a good case study because we were able to make them a part of the community. They become productive members of the society. Just recently, they trained with our disaster preparedness programs. Most of all, we are able to stop gang fights and contain hazing,” he added.
In September 2013, Task Force LAOCU was renamed to Task Force on Fraternities and Gangs Intervention and Prevention or TAFFGIP under Executive Order 2013-06 by incumbent Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian.
TAFFGIF was tasked to organize meetings and fellowships among gang and fraternity members to promote quality social programs.
The task force also aims to eradicate vandalism, use of illegal drugs, and violent initiation among members of gang and fraternities.