Duterte signs new law banning hazing

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 11) — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a new law prohibiting hazing.

Republic Act No. 11053 or the "Anti-Hazing Act of 2018" bans all forms of hazing and orders the regulation of initiation rites - physical and psychological - of fraternities, sororities, and organizations to make it safer for recruits.

The law, which also covers the citizens' military and army trainings, was approved by Duterte on June 29 and a copy was released by the Palace to the media on Wednesday.

"Hazing refers to any act that results in physical or psychological suffering, harm, or injury inflicted on a recruit, neophyte, applicant or member as part of an initiation rite," the law read.

However, physical, mental, and psychological testing and training of prospective members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are not considered hazing.

According to the law, an application letter, which should contain an undertaking that no harm will be done to anybody, must be submitted to proper authorities a week before the initiation rites.

The letter must also indicate names of all recruits, officers of the organization, and those who will be involved in the process.

The measure limits the initiation rites to three days.

Two school representatives must also be present during the initiation rites to ensure that no hazing will occur.

The law penalizes violators with life imprisonment and a P3-million fine if a hazing rite leads to death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation. The previous anti-hazing law does not include a fine.

Those who are present and were involved in the planning and conduct of a hazing incident, including the faculty adviser, will be imposed a fine of up to P2 million and life imprisonment.

The law is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1662 and House Bill No. 6573, which were passed early this year. Congress sought to amend Republic Act No. 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law, which allows regulated hazing as part of an initiation rite if there is a written notice addressed to the school a week before the event.

Both members of the House and Senate panels have agreed to increase penalties, even for those who did not directly carry out the act of hazing.

"Tinaasan ng maximum penalty ng prision correccional. Tinaasan ang lahat na penalties including those who did not actually participate but were present... Tinaas din 'yung level ng penalty dun sa mga officers even if they did not actually participate but their mere presence ang being officers parang katumbas na rin sa actually na nagparticipate, meaning, reclusion perpetua na yun," Lacson said in February.

This follows the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas freshman law student Horacio "Atio" Castillo III in the hands of Aegis Juris Fraternity members on September 2017.

Atio's mother Carminia Castillo said they are "overjoyed" at the signing of the law, thanking the President and lawmakers who worked on the measure.

"This is for the next generation, that what happened to our son would never happen again. I understand it cost my son's life but I believe marami pang matutulungan itong bagong batas na ito," she said.