A leading anti-hazing advocate in the House of Representatives has urged newly created Anti-Hazing Inter-Agency Task Force or AHIATF to go to colleges and universities to know first-hand about students’ views and sentiments concerning hazing.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian said it will be good for the AHIATF to go to the grassroots and conduct fora or discussions that can help raise college students’ awareness on hazing and other fraternity-related violence.
Gatchalian, who managed to stop hazing and violent activities of fraternities and gangs during his term as mayor in Valenzuela City, said such consultations can even elevate calls for actions in eradicating hazing among fraternities and sororities.
“The AHIATF should not only talk among themselves. The task forces should go directly to the concerned students through the holding of a forum-discussion like what UP-Diliman and De La Salle University did recently,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian emphasized the conduct of university-based forum-discussions will help the member-agencies of the task force understand the culture of violence among fraternities as well as how illicit hazing practices occur and in what ways these can be stopped.
Malacanang announced this week the creation of the AHIATF through Memorandum Circular No. 68. The task force will be headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and its members include officials from:
- Philippine National Police,
- Armed Forces, Higher Education,
- National Youth Commissions,
- Department of National Defense,
- Department of Interior and Local Governments, and
- Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs
The AHIATF is mandated to strengthen the implementation of the Anti-Hazing Law (Republic Act No. 8049) as fatalities continue to increase despite the passage of the law.
Gatchalian, a majority member of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, lauded Malacanang’s initiative, saying the creation of the AHIATF shows “the government’s commitment to end fraternity-related hazing once and for all.”
Gatchalian is the principal author of House Bill No. 4714 or the “Servando Act,” which seeks to totally prohibit hazing and impose graver penalties on fraternities and school administrators who will be involved in violent hazing in the future.
If enacted into law, Gatchalian’s bill will repeal Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995, 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.
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 who died last June 28 due to injuries from hazing conducted by members of the school chapter of Tau Gamma Phi Fraternitas. (Monica Cantilero)