MANILA, August 30, 2012?Describing hazing as ‘inhuman, unnecessary and violent’, a bishop is calling on schools to declare its campuses ‘hazing-free’ zones.
Chairman of Episcopal Commission on Youth and Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon said in a YouthPinoy! interview, “Lives are being lost unnecessarily. These are useless deaths. And these are lives of young people full of dreams… Sasayangin lang sa hazing. (Lives will be wasted because of hazing.)”
Baylon said he plans to initially write to Catholic schools through the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) to ban hazing completely from the admission process of fraternities, sororities and organizations.
According to Baylon, despite the Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act No. 8049 guaranteeing that recruits are not harmed physically or psychologically, it does so only on paper.
“We have our Anti-Hazing Law. Walang ngipin ‘yun e (It does not have teeth)…The law should be seriously implemented,” he explained.
According to the Section 3 of the Anti-Hazing Law, “The head of the school or organization or their representatives must assign at least two (2) representatives of the school or organization…to be present during the initiation. It is the duty of such representative to see to it that no physical harm of any kind shall be inflicted upon a recruit, neophyte or applicant.”
“Hindi na tayo Neanderthals (We are not Neanderthals anymore),” Bishop Baylon said, stressing that there are many ways of bringing out a person’s courage and it need not be violent.
He decried the fact that recruits put up with physical torture and harm because of a desire to “belong”.
Baylon also appealed to institutions’ and individuals’ sensibilities about how hazing degrades the dignity of the human person, contrary to the sisterhood and brotherhood fraternities and sororities want to build up in their organizations.
The bishop has tasked the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate (NSYA) to study how an anti-hazing advocacy could be effectively promoted online and in dioceses and schools.
The most recent hazing-related death is that of San Beda College law student Marc Andrei Marcos who died after sustaining injuries during initiation rites into the Lex Leonum Fraternity (LLF) last July. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]