President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic 11053 or the “Anti-Hazing Act of 2018” on June 29, 2018. Asuncion
Duterte declares second week of February for 'National Hazing Prevention Week'
( - February 28, 2020 - 11:58am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte declared the second week of February as “National Hazing Prevention Week,” stressing state policy of valuing human dignity and guarantee respect of human rights.

Duterte signed Proclamation No. 907 and directed the Commission on Higher Education to lead the yearly observance of the National Hazing Prevention Week, “with the main objective of strengthening the campaign to end hazing and other fraternity-related violence.”

The proclamation was signed on February 21 but made public only Friday.

Government agencies, including government-owned or –controlled corporations, state universities and colleges are directed to provide support to CHED for the conduct of programs.

Local government units, private sector, civil society organizations and professional groups, meanwhile, are urged to participate in the National Hazing Prevention Week activities.

The funding for the implementation will be taken from appropriations of concerned agencies. “For the succeeding years, the necessary funding shall be programmed in the respective budget proposals of the said agencies, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations,” the proclamation read.

“Throughout the years, there has been an alarming number of hazing-related deaths in the Philippines, despite the passage of the Anti-Hazing Act,” Duterte said.

“To address the continuous occurrence, as well as the dire consequences of this act of violence, there is a need for the active participation of various government agencies, as well as the private sector and non-governmental organizations, to increase awareness of the importance and value of hazing prevention,” he added.

A stronger anti-hazing law

The death of University of Santo Tomas freshman Horacio Tomas Castillo III during an initiation rite of Aegis Juris fraternity in 2017 sparked moves to amend the anti-hazing policy.

The president signed Republic Act 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018. Under the law, the definition of hazing has been expanded 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.”

A year after he signed the law, Duterte, however, admitted that hazing cannot be eliminated unless fraternities are banned.

He told reporters: "You know ikaw pumasok ka, ‘pag nahuli ka, sorry ka. Hindi mo talaga matanggal ‘yan (If you join and you get caught, sorry. You cannot do away with that). Unless you ban fraternity for all time. Make it a criminal offense by joining a fraternity. But that would raise so many constitutional issues."

Duterte's remarks came following deaths of Philippine Military Academy Fourth Class Cadet Darwin Dormitorio and a University of the Philippines student who was tagged in an alleged brutal initiation rite of the Sigma Rho fraternity.

Earlier this month, a freshman Criminology student passed away while another student was severely injured in what is believed to be a fraternity-related hazing incident in Bulan, Sorsogon. — Kristine Joy Patag with report from The STAR/Christina Mendez

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