Is Hazing Prohibited in the Philippines?

(updated as of 04 November 2020)

Yes, hazing is prohibited under Republic Act No. 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law. It has been amended by Republic Act No. 11053 in 2018 and is now known as the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018.

Under the law, hazing has been defined as any act that results in physical or psychological suffering, harm, or injury inflicted on a recruit, neophyte, applicant, or member as part of an initiation rite or practice made as a prerequisite for admission or a requirement for continuing membership in a fraternity, sorority, or organization including, but not limited to paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical and psychological health of such recruit, neophyte, applicant, or member. This shall also include any activity, intentionally made or otherwise, by one person alone or acting with others, that tends to humiliate or embarrass, degrade, abuse, or endanger, by requiring a recruit, neophyte, applicant, or member to do menial, silly, or foolish tasks.

All forms of hazing shall be prohibited in fraternities, sororities, and organizations in schools, communities,  military training and army training. However, excluded from the prohibition are practices that determine and enhance the the physical, mental, and psychological fitness of prospective regular members of the AFP and the PNP as approved by the Secretary of National Defense and National Police Commission, duly recommended by the Chief of Staff of the AFP and Director General of the PNP as well as those approved by the respective heads of other uniformed learning institutions as to their prospective members. Furthermore, customary athletic events or other similar contests or competitions or any activity or conduct that furthers a legal and legitimate objective, subject to prior submission of a medical clearance or certificate, shall not be considered as hazing.

Initiation rites or ceremonies that a person must perform or take part in order to be accepted into fraternity, sorority, organization as a full-fledged member are still allowed provided that they do not engage in hazing and comply with the conditions provided by law.

For school-based initiation rites, the following must be complied with:

1. Prior written application to the school authorities seven (7) days before the conduct of such initiation

2. The written application shall indicate the place and date of the initiation rites and the names of the recruits, neophytes, or applicants to be initiated and the manner by which they will conduct the initiation rites.

3. The rites shall not last for more than three (3) days.

4. The application shall contain the names of the incumbent officers of the fraternity, sorority, or organization and any person or persons who will take charge in the conduct of the initiation rites.

5. The application shall be under oath with a declaration that it has been posted in the official school bulletin board, the bulletin board of the office of the fraternity, sorority, or organization, and two(2) other conspicuous places in the school or in the premises of the organization; and

6.The application shall be posted from the time of submission of the written notice to the school authorities or head of organization and shall only be removed from its posting three (3) days after the conduct of the initiation rites.

During the initiation, the school must assign at least two (2) representatives to be present during the rites.

For community-based fraternities, sororities or organizations, initiation rites may be conducted provided that following conditions are satisfied:

1. A written application to conduct the same shall be made to the punong barangay in the barangay or municipal or city mayor in the municipality or city where the community-based fraternity, sorority, or organization is based, not later than seven (7) days prior to the schedules initiation date.

2.  The written initiation shall indicate the place and date of the initiation rites and the names of the recruits, neophytes, or applicants to be initiated.

3.  Such written application shall further contain an undertaking that no harm or any kind shall be committed by anybody during the initiation rites.

4. A medical certificate of the recruit, neophyte, or applicant must be attached to the application to ensure fitness to undergo initiation when it involves physical activity not failing under the definition of hazing.

5. The initiation rites shall not last more than three (3) days.

6. The application shall contain the names of the incumbent officers of the community-based fraternity, sorority, or organization and any person or persons who will take charge in the conduct of initiation rites.

7. The application shall be under oath with a declaration that it has been posted on the official bulletin board of the barangay hall or the municipal or city hall where the community-based fraternity, sorority or organization is based, and the bulletin board of the office of the community-based fraternity, sorority or organization; and

8. The application shall be posted from the time of submission of the written notice to the punong barangay or municipal or city mayor and shall only be removed from its posting three (3) days after the conduct of the initiation rites.

At least two (2) barangay or municipal or city officials must be present during the initiation rites.

Republic Act No. 11053 increased the penalties for hazing as follows:

1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P3,000,000 shall be imposed upon those who actually planned or participated in the hazing if, as a consequence of the hazing, death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation results therefrom.

2. The penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P2,000,000 shall be imposed upon those who actually planned or participated in the hazing, All officers of the fraternity, sorority, or organization who are actually present during the hazing, faculty adviser who was present but failed to take action to prevent the hazing or promptly report the same to law enforcement authorities, former officers or alumni of the fraternity present during the hazing, officers or members thereof who knowingly cooperated in carrying out the hazing by inducing the victim to be present thereat and members who were present during the hazing when they are intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

3.  The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period (17 years, 4 months and 1 day to 20 years) and a fine of P1,000,000 shall be imposed upon all persons who are present in the conduct of the hazing.

4. The penalty of reclusion temporal and a fine of P1,000,000 shall be imposed upon former officers, members or alumni of the fraternity, sorority or organization will perform any act to hide, conceal, or otherwise hamper or obstruct any investigation that will be conducted thereafter.

5. The penalty of prision correcional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any person who shall intimidate, threaten, force, or employ, or administer any form of vexation against another person for the purpose of recruitment in joining or promoting a particular fraternity, sorority, or organization.

6. A fine of One million pesos (P1,000,000.00) shall be imposed on the school if the fraternity, sorority, or organization filed a written application to conduct an initiation which was subsequently approved by the school and hazing occurred during the initiation rites or when no representatives from the school were present during the initiation.

Third parties are also punished by RA 8049. In fact, the owner or lessee of the place where hazing is conducted shall be liable as a principal when he has actual knowledge of the hazing conducted therein but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring or did not report the same to the police. The school authorities, barangay, municipal, or city officials shall be liable as an accomplice if it can be shown that they allowed or consented to the conduct of hazing, but such officials failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring or failed to promptly report to the law enforcement authorities if the same can be done without peril to their person or their family.

In view of the stiffer penalties for hazing, fraternities, sororities and organizations are advised to stop such practice. In fact, the law states that the presence of any person, even if such person is not a member of the fraternity, sorority, or organization, during the hazing is prima facie evidence of participation therein as a principal. Such presumption is negated when the person prevented the commission of the acts punishable herein or promptly reported the same to the law enforcement authorities if they can do so without peril, to their person or their family.

Nicolas & De Vega Law Offices is a full service law firm in the Philippines. You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. You may also call us at +632 4706126+632 4706130+632 4016392.

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