President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Wednesday (July 11) the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 which strictly prohibits all forms of hazing among fraternities, sororities and any school organization, offices, and uniformed learning institution.
The amended law expanded the definition of the term “hazing” to include “physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, neophyte, applicant or member as part of an initiation rite or a requirement for continuing membership in a fraternity or sorority or organization.”
The amended law also provides harsher penalties as those who planned or participated in the hazing will face a penalty of reclusion perpetua and a P3M fine if the hazing resulted to death, rape, mutilation or sodomy, thus amending the previous measure which merely regulates it. Also, the new law penalizes attempts to cover up the hazing activities.
The Anti-Hazing Acts of 2018 strengthens the existing Anti-Hazing Act of 1995 which was criticized for being toothless, with only one conviction since it was enacted into law 23 years ago.
It has been 10 months since the death of UST Law Student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III after a hazing initiation by members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity.
Though the suspects in the case are now behind bars, his parents still grieve for the loss of their only son.
“I know he’s not coming back for us. Parang tumigil ang time. I was wishing na sana noong time na iyon sana classes were called up siguro or sana na flat tire ako or sana that day umulan para hindi sana natuloy because hindi ko alam mapapahamak ang anak ko. I had no idea the next day na ang susunod kong malalaman ay patay na sya,” said Atio’s father, Horacio Castillo Jr.
“In the morning paggising namin kulang pa rin. Iyong. “Ma, gisingin mo ako ng six may klase ako.” Wala nang nagsasabi ng ganon, Iyon ang mahirap for us. Masakit sa amin. Apat lang kami. It’s always 4 of us lang. Ngayon nabawasan pa kami ng isa. Talagang miss na miss namin sya,” said Carmina, Atio’s mother.
Despite what happened to their son, Carmina still looks at the positive side of school organizations such as fraternity. However, she said, hazing should not be used as a measure of someone’s loyalty to the group.
“Iyong nature of brotherhood para iyang barkada mo. Pero ang ganitong organization sasali ka just to prove your loyalty, I think it’s wrong. Your loyalty belongs to your parents with your family with God and with the country, not with people like these,” she concluded. – Joan Nano / Marje Pelayo