House takes tougher stance against hazing, passes bill
A proposed law taking a tougher stance against hazing and other fraternity-related violence has passed in the House of Representatives.
The lower chamber has endorsed to the Senate House Bill No. 5760, which prohibits all forms of hazing by fraternities, sororities and other organizations—physical as well as psychological—and requires the presence of at least two school officials during initiation rites.
The bill, a consolidated version of five bills filed separately by lawmakers, imposes fines up to P3 million and imprisonment from six months to life for violators.
It will repeal Republic Act No. 8049, which only regulates physical hazing. The proponents cited an urgent need to address the violence that occurs during initiation rites of campus organizations, especially fraternities and sororities, sometimes resulting in injuries and death.
“We have to eliminate the tradition of violence that had been embedded as a culture among fraternities, sororities and other organizations,” the lawmakers said.
At the same time, the authors underscored the need to make fraternities, sororities and other organizations more accountable and transparent.
HB 5760 provides for the registration of school and community-based fraternities, sororities and organizations and imposes stiff penalties for any violation of the law.
Requisite for admission
“Any physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, member, neophyte or applicant as a form of an initiation rite or practice made as a prerequisite for admission or a requirement for continuing membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization shall be considered as hazing and is hereby prohibited,” the bill states.
Penalties for violations range from P1 million to P3 million in fines or six months to life imprisonment, or both, and other sanctions.
“Hazing shall also include any activity, intentionally made or otherwise, by one person or acting with others, that tends to humiliate or embarrass, degrade, abuse or endanger, by requiring a recruit, member, neophyte or applicant to do menial, silly or foolish tasks,” the bill states.
Also, only initiation rites or practices which do not inflict direct or indirect physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury, to the recruit, neophyte or applicant of a fraternity, sorority or organization shall be allowed.
Under RA 8049, hazing is allowed under certain conditions, such as a prior written notice submitted to school authorities seven days before the initiation rites.
Among other requirements under the proposed law is a written application for the conduct of initiations, which shall be made to the proper authorities of the school not later than seven days prior to the initiation date.
The head of the school or an authorized representative must assign at least two representatives of the school to be present during the initiation.
All new and existing community-based fraternities, sororities or organizations shall register with the barangay (village) or municipality or city where they are based. Upon registration, they shall submit a comprehensive list of their members and officers which shall be updated yearly from the date of registration.
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