Will frats, sororities stop after UST suspends them

 

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

Officials of the University of Santo Tomas has ordered the suspension of all fraternities and sororities in the school system effective school year 2018-2019. But will this suspension really completely stop these societies from operating? They could easily go underground as had happened in the past (particularly during the Martial law years).

 The memorandum came eight months after freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III died from apparent hazing last September 2017.

 In a memorandum issued by the UST’s Office of the Student Affairs said recruitment and other activities of the said groups and related organizations should stop following the hazing incident that killed freshman law student, Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

 Campus organ, The Varsitarian, said on Wednesday that Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Director Ma. Socorro Guan Hing’s memorandum issued on Tuesday that: “The University has decided to suspend the recognition of all Fraternities, Sororities, or similar organizations effective at the start of A.Y. 2018-2019 until further notice.”

 Guan Hing added that the decision was made based on UST’s mandate to protect its students.  She also directed organizations to stop recruiting students to join their ranks.

 “Accordingly, all fraternities, sororities, or similar organizations are directed to cease and desist from recruiting students or engaging in any kind of activities,” Guan Hing’s memorandum indicated.

 OSA further instructed students to refrain from joining these organizations.

 “All students likewise are directed not to join fraternities, sororities, or any unrecognized student organizations pursuant to the Code of Conduct and Discipline.”  

 Last April 3, the OSA said it would not accredit new student organizations for SY 2018-2019 but did not state any particular reason, the Rappler reported.

 Anti -Hazing bills

Last January 23, the Senate came out with SB 1662, the same day it released the committee report on the investigation into the hazing death of Castillo.

 Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon partylist reiterated her call to the Department of Interior and Local Government, in anticipation of the passage of the new Anti Hazing Law, to prepare the implementing mechanisms for the strict monitoring and enforcement of the current and imminent new law at the LGU level, especially in the barangays.

 Out-of-school youth and students in junior high school and senior high school are especially prone to invites from frats and gangs, she said.

 

 Barangay and school principals must work together and apply their child protection policies effectively and pro-actively. They must be on the alert against frats and gangs that get involved in illegal drugs or resort to hold-ups of taxis and jeepneys as initiation rites for neophytes.

 

 Neighborhood frats and gangs can also be used by organized crime engaged in human trafficking, illegal drugs, and prostitution of children and teenagers.

 

 She also urged the President to certify House Bill 6573 and Senate Bill 1662 as urgent.

 

 Crime syndicates are well aware of the minimum age of criminal responsibility stated in the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.The link between neighborhood frats and gangs and juvenile crime is a clear and present danger to our communities.

 

 Effective implementation of the imminent Anti-Hazing Law will be another way for government to reduce crime near our schools, on the streets and close to our homes. 

 Suspects removed from NBI

 Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) facilitated the transfer of the accused parties in the Castillo hazing-slay case Wednesday, May 23.

 The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 ordered yesterday, May 22, the transfer of 10 members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity implicated in Atio’s death after it denied the suspects’ petition and agreed with the prosecution that the NBI is not a regular detention facility.

 The prosecutin also argued that hazing is not among the crimes covered in the duties and responsibilities of the NBI.

 

The ten accused are:  Arvin Balag, Robin Ramos, Jose Miguel Salamat, Danielle Hans Matthew, Mhin Wei Chan, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Ralph Trangia, Joshua Joriel Macabali and Marcelino Bagtang.

 

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