While the Philippines cannot get over yet the Dormitorio hazing incident, another student is hospitalized for injuries that could be due to hazing. The newest victim is Jonathan Cabueños, an 18 year old Crimiology student from Laguna Polytechnic State University seeking to be a member of a fraternity.
But why do Filipino youth risk their lives undergoing hazing just to join fraternities?
Reporter.ph enumerates 10 reasons why and these are as follows:
- Long-term friendship
- Social opportunities
- Support system
- Personality development
- Career quest
- Don’t want to left behind
- Leadership Experience
- To Party
While these are true, these are but a tip of the Philippine socio-cultural iceberg.
First, the concepts of “acceptance”, “social opportunities”, “support system”, “career quest” and “belongingness” are all rooted on the idea that in this country, what matters is “whom you know” and not “what you know”. Meritocracy is nothing but secondary to the endorsement of Congressman, or the governor or high ranking officials. When I did a study of the political economy of public works and engineering districts, a Department of Public Works and Highways official spilled that the curriculum vitae of applicants for the position of District Engineers are flowering with endorsements from public officials, mainly Congressmen. Can now somebody make a correlation between the Congressional pork and the relationship of the Congressional District Representative and the District Engineer?
Second, “acceptance” and “belongingness” also point out that divisiveness is very high in the Philippine society. One can easily spot this by just looking at the DDS-Dilawan divide. This is because of the “black and white” branding leaving no room for gray. Under the present context, for instance, one is easily branded a “dilawan” just for airing a disgust on a government policy — a disgust that is not even aired against President Rodrigo Duterte. But ask what is a “dilawan”, some would say “these are the Liberal Party people” or the elites shelving up the fact that almost all of these “dilawans” are already in the President’s political party.
Third, the concept of “personality development” also shows how weak the Filipino families are that they could not build the personality or even confidence of their children. This is being corroborated by a Facebook post showing that the Philippines is last on the list of ASEAN countries in terms of IQ, or ranked 62nd of 110 countries as per the data presented by WorldData.info.
Fourth, Filipinos are a political animal so the myth that fraternities could provide “leadership experience” abound. In reality, though, what these youth want is a taste of power because of the perks they see from their mayor or governor. “A mayor or a governor gets what he wants and the mayor or governor is a leader. Therefore, I want to be a leader, too.” Many failed to see, or the Filipino schools and families failed to teach, that leadership is a matter of accountability and not benefits. Has anybody admitted to the death of Atio? Or the other victims of hazing? None, because everyone is a Pilate.
The original concepts of fraternities and sororities are good. But then again, these are used and abused and something should be done about it. Maybe it is high time for fraternities and sororities to do an introspection while the government strictly regulate these organizations. Families and schools should also get involve and rethink how to grow and nurture members of the society that are confident and can live even outside a group.