(Photo courtesy of Anadolu)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte denounced hazing and all forms of physical abuse in initiation rites anew, noting that killing “helpless” neophytes can never be acceptable.

“You cannot be more of a man even to yourself if you kill another human being na helpless, hindi naman makaganti (who is helpless, cannot even fight back),” he said in a prerecorded Talk to the People aired Wednesday morning.

Recounting his own experience, he said almost all fraternities have a history of deaths due to intense physical punishment.

Duterte, a member of Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc., recalled writing a letter to his fraternity to stop hazing or at least lessen the practice.

“We wrote [to] our fraternity to stop this nonsense of inflicting severe pain,” he added.

He said he personally experienced getting a beating when he joined his frat in San Beda Law School and was hospitalized for three days due to severe hematoma or blood suffusion.

Duterte noted that fraternities are supposed to help students attain excellence in academic pursuits.

“I would not be happy to hear my fraternity killing a neophyte. I would view it as a… Patayin mo lang ang tao (Killing a person) for nothing. It’s supposed to be an academic — in pursuit of academic excellence,” he said.

He called on fraternity members to think about how they would feel if their own sons would be victims of hazing.

“Pag-isipan nga ninyong mabuti ‘yan. Kung ako ang tatay, inalagaan ko ‘yang anak ko, kung hindi ko nga papadapuin ang lamok diyan pati langaw ang katawan ng anak ko tapos bugbugin lang ninyo, patayin ninyo? Pag-isipan ninyo ‘yan (Think about it well. If I were the father, I would take good care of my child, I won’t even allow a mosquito to rest on their skin then you just beat them and kill them? Think about it),” he said.

In July 2018, Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 which bans hazing in initiation rites and imposes up to PHP3 million fine for offenders.

It also penalizes individuals who will try to cover up the alleged hazing activities of their colleagues.

The signing of the law came after the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law freshman Horacio Castillo III while undergoing initiation rites by members of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

In February 2020, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 907 declaring the second week of February every year as National Hazing Prevention Week. (PNA)