Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian called on for the repeal of “Republic Act No. 8049″, popularly known as the “Anti-Hazing Law of 1995”, to end the practice of violent hazing which has resulted in several deaths of promising young students.
“The so-called ‘Anti-Hazing Law’ is a misnomer. It does not prohibit hazing but only regulates it. We need a new law that will put an end to violent hazing which has caused several deaths in the past,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian, a majority member of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, argued that while there are relevant provisions under the ‘Anti-Hazing Law’, it is silent on the mandatory accreditation of fraternities and sororities as recognized school organizations.
The law also does not prevent school administrators from easily washing their hands to evade liability.
The legislator observed that whenever there are incidents of violent hazing involving their students, the standard reply of school administrators is that they prohibit fraternities and they discourage students from joining such groups.
“It’s about time that school administrators reexamine their policy of prohibiting fraternities and sororities in their campuses. The more you ban fraternities, the more they will go underground and conduct their activities sub rosa,” Gatchalian said.
“But if you accredit them as regular school organizations, they will be forced to submit to the rules and regulations of universities and colleges,” said Gatchalian.
Under the republic act, a prior written notice for hazing or initiation rites have to be submitted to school authorities or head of the organization such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), or the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) at least seven days before the activity.
Two representatives of the school or the organization have to be present during the initiation to ensure no physical harm will be inflicted upon the recruit.
“Under the law, hazing is allowed but fraternities and sororities have to inform school authorities ahead of the said activity. Hazing can be done but it has to be regulated. Definitely, violent hazing should be done away with,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian also noted that while the ‘Anti-Hazing Law’ says the school has to send representatives to the initiation rites, this is hardly implemented as seen in the latest case of hazing that resulted in the death of Guillo Cesar Servando.
Servando was the sophomore student of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde who tried to join the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity over the weekend.
“Educational institutions should be held accountable in case neophytes suffer physical harm or worse, death. Parents entrust their children’s safety to school authorities, who should be able to monitor what is happening in their own backyard and be liable for any trouble, especially hazing,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian is proposing to require universities and colleges to give recognition to all fraternities and sororities as this is in line with our Constitution’s Bill of Rights, particularly the right to form associations.
“Accreditation of fraternities and sororities will allow schools to keep track of student activities and prevent incidence of violence. It will also make schools liable if anything happens to neophytes wanting to be a member of a fraternity or a sorority,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian maintained that by doing this, school administrators will be able to regulate fraternities since a requirement for accreditation is the submission of the organization’s constitution and by-laws as well as the list of officers and roster of members.
“Fraternities which operate legally or above-ground are easier to monitor and since they are already accredited, they have to abide by the rules and regulations of their university as well as the provisions of the new law on fraternities and sororities,” Gatchalian said. (Monica Cantilero)