With just days away from the first death anniversary of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (DLS-CSB) student Guillo Cesar Servando, a 14-year-old Grade 8 student from Bulacan died while undergoing hazing in the hands of his supposed fraternity brothers.
In a news report, Christian dela Cruz, a student of Fortunato Halili National Agricultural School, succumbed to extreme swelling in his right abdomen and liver damage sustained from the violent hazing he underwent in Barangay Sta. Clara, Sta Maria, Bulacan.
Due to this latest hazing incident, Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian urged the Senate to fast-track the approval of a counterpart measure to House Bill No. 5760, which seeks to ban all forms of hazing in fraternities, sororities, and other organizations.
Gatchalian is the primary sponsor of HB 5760 that aims to repeal Republic Act No. 8094 or the “Anti-Hazing Law of 1995”. HB 5760 has already been approved by on third reading and was transmitted to the Senate last June 6.
Aside from Christian dela Cruz, Gatchalian noted that two more students, namely Ariel Enopre and John Kurt Inventor, have also died due hazing incident after the death of Servando on June 28 last year.
“There have been three reported hazing deaths already after Guillo Servando. How many more must die before a more stringent anti-hazing measure is passed into law? Senate should expedite the measure’s passage to put a stop to senseless killings attributed to hazing,” said Gatchalian, who is a member of House Committee on Basic Education and Culture.
The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) congressman said the passage of HB 5760 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.
“It’s very alarming that fraternities, which are usually operating in colleges and universities, are also present in the high school level. What’s even more disturbing is that these minors are not afraid that they might hurt or even kill somebody,” Gatchalian pointed out.
Photos: ‘No To Hazing’ Forum at PUP
Under the HB 5760, schools and universities shall have all organizations operating within their grounds registered for the enforcement of the measure.
Meanwhile, community-based groups will be required 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.
Persons found liable in hazing activities may face life imprisonment or reclusion perpetua, and be fined a maximum amount of P3 million.
“Clearly, the current law is not effective in preventing abuses during initiation rites which results to serious injuries, or worse, deaths,” Gatchalian noted.
“I believe that the senators will be able to see the wisdom and necessity of a law that will give more teeth to the current Anti-Hazing Law (R.A. 8049) in going after those responsible for such violent hazing acts and those who always keep a policy of silence on the matter,” concluded Gatchalian. (Tim Alcantara)