Thousands of college students braved strong wind and rain on Sunday to join the Walk for Peace in Manila to show their solidarity against hazing and other types of violence happening inside educational institutions.
The short 3.4-kilometer walk from Qurino Grandstand in Rizal Park (Luneta) to Bonifacio Shrine near Manila City Hall took off at 6 a.m. and ended at 10:30 a.m.
Among the participants were hundreds of students from College of Saint Benilde, the school that the latest hazing casualty had attended.
The event was organized by the Office of Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada through the Youth Development and Welfare Bureau.
Estrada said the activity aims to deliver the message that hazing and fraternity-related violence have no place in Manila.
Among those who gave messages were Fr. Robert Reyes, Undersecretary Gio Tiongson of the National Youth Commission and Navotas City (Metro Manila) Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian
School representatives also delivered their respective solidarity messages.
Aside from the College of Saint Benilde, among other schools that participated in the march were Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and De La Salle University.
Symbolically, the students condemned hazing by allowing themselves to be poured with water by school officials, guests of the event and school representatives, with many of them wearing either green or black shirts.
At least 20 suspects were tagged in the June 28 death of Guillo Cesar Servando of College of Saint Benilde.
The suspects, all members and leaders of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity, are facing charges in violation of the Ant-Hazing Law.
The Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act 8049 states “that no physical violence be employed by anybody” during initiation rites.
It imposes a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if the hazing resulted in death, rape, sodomy or mutilation.
Servando and three other Saint Benilde students were brought to a boarding house in Makati City (Metro Manila) for the initiation rites.
They were then brought to One Archer’s Place along Taft Avenue in Manila.
From there, the students called Manila Red Cross for help.
They were rushed to the Philippine General Hospital, where Servando was pronounced dead.