Senate OKs new anti-hazing bill on third and final reading

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 12) — Voting 19-0, the Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill completely banning hazing as a requirement for admission into a fraternity, sorority, or organization.

Senate Bill No. 1662, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law, aims to strengthen the existing measure and regulate other forms of initiation rites.

It defined hazing as "any physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, member, neophyte, or applicant for admission or continuing membership into the fraternity, sorority or organization."

The existing law allows hazing as part of an initiation rite if there is a written notice addressed to the school a week before the event.

The House approved its version of the bill on January 22.

READ: House OKs new anti-hazing bill on third and final reading

Senator Panfilo Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said the bill will cover not only hazing activities in schools, but also in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Military Academy, and Philippine National Police Academy.

Lacson added the bill requires fraternities, sororities, and organizations to submit an application to school authorities for the initiation rite, detailing the activity within seven days prior to the scheduled date.

School authorities should then monitor, record, and report that no hazing was conducted in the initiation rites.

The bill penalizes violators with up to life imprisonment or a fine of up to P3-million, if a hazing rite leads to death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation. Other penalties will be imposed for lesser violations.

The school would also be held liable and be imposed a P1 million fine if its officials failed to prevent hazing

Licenses of professionals involved in acts of hazing would also be revoked for up to three years, which may then be reinstated after affidavits certifying the individuals' good moral standing are submitted.

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

READ: Timeline: The case of Horacio Castillo III