Duterte signs law imposing tighter penalties for ‘hazing’

Over the years, dozens of young lives had been lost from ritual violence in schools and by youth groups

Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law banning ritual violence in schools and imposed higher penalties on individuals and authorities who condone and conceal such activities.

The president, late Wednesday, signed the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 (Republic Act 11053) which prohibits all forms of ritual violence, known as “hazing” in fraternities, sororities, school and youth organisations as well as in military and police training institutes.

Over the years, dozens of young lives had been lost, sometimes by accident, from ritual violence in schools and by youth groups.

The latest victim was a college student, Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, who died from beatings he suffered last year in a prestigious university in Manila.

“Atio Castillo sought to join a brotherhood in search for his purpose in life. Since there’s no more life to speak of, let his death serve the purpose of ensuring that the misery of hazing and the employment of appalling rituals will no longer be imposed in the name of brotherhood,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said while lauding the passage of the new law.

“There is no unity, no brotherhood, no strength, no honour, no dignity and no respect in hazing. It is merely violence and abuse,” he had said in a speech earlier this year.

Senator Joel Villanueva said the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 gives teeth to the previous 1995 version of the law. It now out rightly prohibits and makes hazing a criminal act while providing more substantial penalties for those who will be proven guilty.

Under the new law, violators can be imprisoned for life and pay up to three million pesod (Dh206,073) in penalties.

Under the new law, the definition of hazing has been expanded to include “physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, member, neophyte, or applicant” as a prerequisite for admission or for continued membership in an organisation.

Aside from fraternities, sororities in schools, the law expands to include organisations in communities, uniformed service learning institutions and even businesses.

“The law also requires schools to be more active and proactive in regulating school-based initiation rites, with administrators of learning institutions required to exercise reasonable supervision and take proactive steps to protect students from danger of participating in activities that will involve hazing,” Lacson said.


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