In 2018, a student of the University of Sto. Tomas, Atio Castillo, died of hazing. Last week, another student, this time from the Philippine Military Academy, also died adding the number of casualties due to hazing – Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio. With deaths piling up, when will the supposed to be brothers ever learn?
According to Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde, he also underwent hazing and made him to what he is now. He added, though, that hazing is a matter of personal perception on how one accepts or rejects it.
But when the law is clear, perception has no room in the equation. Hazing has been regulated since 1995 by virtue of Republic Act No. 8049, and eventually banned under Republic Act 11053 otherwise known as the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018. The saddest part is, those who are expected to uphold and implement the law in the future are the ones taking part in the barbaric act of accepting brothers — the culprits in the Castillo case are future lawyers, and that of Dormitorio are future law enforcers or protectors of the Filipino people.
While it can be argued that there is this “Cain” gene in the blood of human race, the human DNA has evolved with “civility” and a higher level of intelligence inserted in the genetic strands. For that reason, we see countries with almost zero crime rate as they were able to bury the “bad blood” and cultivate more the good one.
Unfortunately, the case is different in the Philippines. Could this be because of socio-economic and cultural complexity that we have? For example, because “whom you know” weighs more than “what you know” so everyone wants to get closer to the “gang” and the powers that be. Or, is it because we are culturally diverse and there is no such thing as “Filipino-ish sense of unity” that many, especially the youth, are in search of “brotherhood”? But Canada is culturally diverse, too. The same with other countries. So if cultural diversity is the context, couldn’t it be addressed by the national leadership that is supposed to bring everyone on-board and to the same direction and ensuring that “no one is left behind”?
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