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Senate called on to expedite passage of ‘anti-hazing bill’

Nationalist People’s Coalition Congressman Win Gatchalian is urging the Senate to pass the counterpart measure to his proposed “Anti-Hazing Act” after another college student died during the initiation rites of the Tau Gamma Fraternity in Zamboanga City.

The latest hazing victim is Anthony Javier, an 18-year-old computer science student of the Western Mindanao State University in Zamboanga City. He died of multiple contusions in the different parts of the body while undergoing medical treatment in a private hospital, based on reports.

Javier was already comatose when members of the Tau Gamma Phi chapter brought him to the hospital.



Related News: Gatchalian bolsters campaign vs. hazing, talks to over 7,000 students

“Even after the death De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde student Guillo Servando following the initiation rites by members of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity, the body count is still rising,” said Gatchalian, a majority member of the House Committee on Higher Education.

There are six pending bills on hazing in the Senate, two of which were authored by Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Sen. Loren Legarda and filed last July and August, respectively.

Senate Bill No. 2868 and SB 2912 both prohibit hazing and regulate other forms of initiation rites by fraternities, sororities, and other organizations.

Both measures are still pending in the committee, as showed in the Senate’s online database. The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs is the primary panel overseeing the passage of the bills while the committee on justice and human rights is the secondary one.

“It is very crucial that the Senate counterpart bill—the ‘Anti-Hazing Act of 2015’, also called the ‘Servando Act’—be passed immediately to put a stop to the senseless killings once and for all,” Gatchalian emphasized.

Related News: DILG urges House to repeal the ‘Anti-Hazing Law of 1995’

His authored measure, HB 5760 seeks to repeal Republic Act No. 8094 or the “Anti-Hazing Law of 1995”. It has already been approved by on third reading and was transmitted to the Senate last June.

“The latest death due to hazing clearly demonstrates that the current law is powerless in preventing abuses in initiation rites,” noted Gatchalian. The measures filed by Senators Ejercito and Legarda should be prioritized and be tackled immediately in the concerned committees.”

Javier is the latest casualty of hazing, after Christian dela Cruz, 14, who died last June. Ariel Enopre, 24, and John Kurt Inventor, 15, were also hazing victims after the death of Guillo Servando in June last year.

Gatchalian’s proposed law would give teeth to the current law in stopping violent hazing activities, and ensure that schools are accountable for hazing activities conducted within their jurisdiction.

Under the HB 5760, schools and universities shall have all organizations operating within their grounds registered for the enforcement of the measure.

Gatchalian’s bill also require community-based groups to register with the barangay or municipality or city where it is primarily based and shall submit a comprehensive list of members and officers which shall be updated yearly from date of registration.

If hazing is held in the house of one of the officers or members of the fraternity, sorority, or organization, the parents shall be held liable as principals when they have actual knowledge of the hazing conducted therein but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring or failed to promptly report the same to the law enforcement authorities if he can do so without peril to himself or his family.

School authorities and local government officials who consent to the hazing or who have actual knowledge thereof, but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring or failed to promptly report the same to the law enforcement authorities if he can do so without peril to himself or his family shall be punished as accomplices for the acts of hazing committed by the perpetrators. (Tim Alcantara)