REP. Terry Ridon of Kabataan party-list on Saturday said fraternity-related violence continues because of loopholes in Republic Act No. 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995.
“Loopholes in the Anti-Hazing Law, including the exclusion of community fraternities and sororities from the mandate of the law, and the exemption of hazing activities perpetrated by military and police training institutions from its coverage, has rendered the law toothless and contributed to the continued practice of violent initiation rites that resulted in the recent death of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde student Guillo Servando,” Ridon said.
“Despite the existence of a 19-year old Anti-Hazing Law, such acts of violence continue to proliferate without a single conviction. Servando has been added to the long list of hazing victims, which include San Beda students Marc Andrei Ramos and Marvin Reglos, and UP students Alex Icasiano and Cris Mendez, all of whom have yet to attain justice for their deaths,” the lawmaker added.
Servando, 18, died on June 28 after sustaining multiple injuries from initiation rites of Tau Gamma Phi.
In 1995, Congress passed into law RA 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law, in the light of the death of Leni Villa, another hazing victim from the Ateneo De Manila University.
“Time and again, Kabataan party-list has pushed for the review of implementation of RA 8049. To our disappointment, the House leadership has failed to conduct such review,” Ridon said.
He noted that in February 2012, former Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino filed a resolution calling for a review and possible amendment of RA 8049.
“This measure has gathered dust in the Congress archives, and here we find ourselves, again mourning the senseless death of another student —a death that could have been prevented if legislators, state prosecutors, and law enforcers acted decisively to eradicate hazing,” Ridon said.
The militant youth lawmaker said he will again file a resolution calling for the review of the Anti-Hazing Law on Monday.
At the same time, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and other youth groups lit candles on Saturday in front of the Oblation at the University of the Philippines Diliman to call for an end to all forms fraternity-related violence.
“This activity is a response to the death of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde student Guillo Servando of Tau Gamma Phi and multiple injuries incurred recently to a UP Diliman student by Upsilon Sigma Phi. We demand justice for these victims,” Marc Lino Abila, CEGP president, said.
The group however maintained that fraternities should not be abolished since they are legitimate organizations.
“Instead of engaging in violent fraternity practices, we call on these organizations to devote their energy to socially relevant causes. They should be a vital force to topple the existing ill system of the society,” Abila said.
The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) also called for an end to hazing.
Also on Saturday, the De La Salle University also condemned the hazing that led to the death of Servando.
“This is an unconscionable and barbaric act that deserves no place in human society,” the university said in a statement.
It added that students are required to sign a non-fraternity contract stipulating that its violation will result in either dismissal or expulsion.