House tackles bill seeking total hazing ban

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2017 12:00 PM

MANILA - A sub-panel of the House justice committee on Tuesday began discussing a substitute bill seeking to outlaw hazing and regulate initiation rites in fraternities and sororities that are both school based and community based. 

During a hearing of the prosecutorial reforms subcommittee, the technical working group led by Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy presented the substitute bill that seeks to revise the Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act 8049. 

"In the Republic Act 8049, we were regulating hazing as opposed to this, we are completely prohibiting any forms of hazing," said Herrera-Dy. 

The bill, she said, will also expand the definition of hazing to cover psychological injuries to the neophyte. 

It also regulates initiation rites, which was defined as "the testing, training, procedure and practices to determine the physical mental and psychological fitness of prospective regular members." 

The proposed law will impose requisites for initiation rites, including the submission of a medical certificate by neophytes and measures for monitoring the event. 

Fraternities and sororities will also be required to register with their schools or with local government units if they are community-based. 

Under the bill, the consent of the victim will not exempt the perpetrator from liability. 

Those who violate the proposed law would face jail time and penalties. 

Monday's proceedings came a week after the fatal hazing of University of Santo Tomas law freshman Horacio Castillo III.
 
"This measure was already identified by the House leadership as a priority bill way before the most recent death of another hazing victim was reported in the news," said Justice Committee Chair Rey Umali said. 

"This extremely unfortunate event is in a way also fortuitous, since it is a testament to the timeliness of this measure and the pressing need to strengthen our laws to prevent such needless loss of a life full of promise and potential." 

Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News