By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The chairman of House Committee on Justice is eyeing the approval of the bill penalizing persons involved in hazing when Congress resumes session on January 15,2018.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said he is bracing for the passage of the Revised Anti-Hazing Act which seeks to prohibit hazing and to regulate initiation rites of fraternities, sororities and similar organizations.
“We expect the approval of the bill on second reading when Congress resumes session in mid-January. That’s the timeline for approval, ” he said in an interview.
House Bill 3467, authored by Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy seeks to repeal Republic Act No. 8049, also known as “An Act Regulating Hazing And Other Forms Of Initiation Rites In Fraternities, Sororities, And Other Organizations And Providing Penalties Therefor.”
The bill provides that the persons who participate in the hazing shall face a penalty of 20 to 40 years of imprisonment and a fine of P1 million if hazing results in death. It provides that all forms of hazing shall be prohibited at whatever stage of the initiation rite or practice.
Community-based fraternities, sororities and organizations are covered by House Bill 3467, a consolidation of three measures.
The bill provides that if a person subjected to hazing or other forms of initiation rites suffers any physical and psychological injury or dies as a result thereof, the officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be held liable as principals.
Moreover, no hazing or initiation rites shall be allowed without prior written notice to the school authorities or heads of organizations involved seven days before the conduct of rites. At least two representatives of the school or organization must also be present during initiation to ensure that violence will not be employed.
The bill further requires all existing fraternities, sororities and other organizations otherwise not created or organized by the school but have existing members, who are students, or plan to recruit students to be their members to register with the proper authorities of the school before they conduct activities whether on-or-off campus, including the recruitment of members.
Fraternities, sororities and other organizations not based in school such as those that are community-based are likewise covered by the prohibition under the Act.
The bill requires a written application from the local government units and barangay where the community-based fraternities, sororities and other organizations are based, not later than seven days prior to the scheduled initiation date.
The death of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio Tomas Castillo III from alleged hazing prodded the Umali panel to pass the the Revised Anti-Hazing Act.