By Kevin Q. Alaban | Associate Editor
Vol. XCIII No. 7
Sept. 27, 2019
Hazing is defined as any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional or physical harm to any person regardless of that person’s willingness to participate (hazingprevention.org). Considering the damaging effects of hazing to anyone, the activity has been condemned all over the Philippines ever since.
With the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 or the Republic Act 11053 recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, all forms of hazing — physical, psychological or mental — were already banned in the Philippines.
Recently, another issue resurfaced when a cadet from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) died due to hazing. According to an article published by ABS-CBN news online, PMA cadet Darwin Dormitorio died last Sept. 19, 2019, inside his barracks at Fort Del Pilar in Baguio City. On Sept. 20, his death was confirmed to be due to hazing when the Baguio City police found bruises on his stomach. He was initially brought to the hospital after he complained about his stomach pain.
According to the police investigation, there were three persons of interest and at least 20 individuals who witnessed the incident. Meanwhile, in another report by the same news network, all PMA officials directly responsible with the alleged hazing death of the cadet have been dismissed from duty.
In response to the said incident, Senator Panfilo Lacson, who is also a PMA alumnus, said in a statement, “Those possibly responsible for the death of 4[th] Class Cadet Dormitorio are now surely regretting what they did. It is too late for them though and they will have to face the consequence of their indiscretions.” The senator also added that the people who still engage in hazing never seemed to have learned from the past incidents.
The case is still an issue that lurks in and plagues the community today. Considering the successfully approved law on hazing, incidents still occur. Over a year ago, a student of the University of the Santo Tomas, Atio Castillo’s fatal hazing and death also made a noise to the people. However, in his case, the perpetrators were the members of a fraternity.
Whether people like to hear or not news regarding this, the idea is, hazing still occurs. It’s an issue no one can kill. Rather it is something like a forest fire; the aftermath is the haze that affects all the people in the world. But like a forest fire, collective effort may help ease it, if not end it, immediately. The people of the Philippines must open their eyes to the realities of this dangerous action and take part in the effort to abolish this inhumane and demoralizing act.