MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday signed a law banning all forms of hazing and imposes graver penalties against those who participate in it or try to conceal it.

Duterte signed the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 (RA 11053), which prohibits all forms of hazing in fraternities, sororities, and organizations in schools, including citizens’ military training and citizens’ army training.

The Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 amends RA 8049 or An Act Regulating Hazing and Other Forms of Initiation Rites in Fraternities, Sororities, and Organizations, and Providing Penalties Therefor.

Under the Anti-Hazing law, school-based initiation rites are regulated by only allowing rites or practices that do not constitute hazing.

The head of a school or an authorized representative must also assign at least two representatives of the school administration to be present during the initiation to ensure that no hazing is conducted and to document the entire proceedings.

Penalties as grave as reclusion perpetua, and a PHP3-million fine will be imposed upon those who planned or participated in hazing activities.

There are also penalties for officers, advisers of the fraternity, sorority, or organizations, who are present during hazing; and even non-resident members or alumni who tried to hide, conceal, hamper, or obstruct any investigation.

The Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 is a consolidation of Senate Bill No 1662 and House Bill No. 6573 passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on March 12, 2018 and March 13, 2018, respectively.

Duterte signed this law less than a year after the brutal hazing of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, who died during initiation rites conducted by the Aegis Juris Fraternity. (PNA)