Fraternities in the Philippines
Fraternities in the Philippines are social organizations of men in different colleges and universities in the Philippines having common purpose, interests, and activities.
A fraternity is defined as a group of people united in a relationship, having some common interests, activity, and purpose. It is a brotherhood, as the members usually say, of people at a college or university usually characterized by Greek letters.
For members, fraternity means brotherhood, unity, friendship, trust and acceptance. It means meeting new people, sharing interests and accepting others' as well. It helps in building confidence and character because they believe that a fraternity gives a certain kind of protection. It gives the feeling of security and importance.
It is somewhat comparable to gangs as they are both organization of people. However, gangs usually lack purpose and acceptance to communities. Usually linked with violence because members tend to compete with each other. Unlike in fraternity, members have this humility to help each other out and protect each other from an outsider.
A person usually joins a fraternity to be recognized and be a part of something. The idea of having some-"buddy" gives a feeling of confidence and security. In the Philippines, most of those who join fraternities are middle class students seeking protection. Others are students who come from the provinces and seek out fraternities that group them among ethnic or regional lines. Some in universities, join as to be part of an "elite" group of a particular department, division, and/or course of study.
Before one can join a certain fraternity, he must undergo a series of tasks approved by that certain group. These tasks test one's integrity and endurance to prove his determination to be a member. Usually these initiations are physical and mental practices. In the Philippines, initiation is frequently violent and mentally degrading. Some also says it includes erotic element. Because of these, they call initiation hazing.
Hazing means infliction of unnecessary or excessive work in order to harass, an attempt to embarrass or disconcert by ridicule or persistent criticism, or the subjecting (of a freshamn or fraternity pledge) to treatment intended to put in ridiculous or disconcerting position<ref name="test1">Webster, Noah. Webster's Third New International Dictionary (Unabridged). United States of America: Merria-Webster, Inc., 2002.</ref>. Just its meaning already gives a negative connotation on the procedure of initiation of a fraternity. However, members who give this ritual to a neophyte defends that its through hazing can they prove one's endurance and thus achieves loyalty to the group.
Some come in forms of:
- Paddling - sometimes over a lap, a knee, but mostly at the back of the thigh or on the bare buttock;
- Slapping - slapping of the face;
- Tedious Cleaning - cleaning of toilet bowl, etc.;
- Weird Clothing - an incoming member will be asked to wear a very funny or weird costume that would impose a negative effect on the wearer;
- Food - a combination of food mixed and in absurd container;
- Servitude - waiting on others (as at frat parties) or various other forms of housework, often with pointless tests of obedience.
For many years now, many students are getting killed due to fraternity hazings. Almost are students from the University of the Philippines. Still, students risk serious injury or even death for the supposed privilege of fraternity membership.
Among the countless victims of brutal and senseless deaths by fraternity hazing in colleges and universities in our country are as follows:
1. Marlon Villanueva -
2. Niño Calinao - got killed in 1999 during initiation by Alpha Sigma Rho fraternity.<ref name="test2">" Niño Calinao, Cris Anthony Mendez, Dennis Venturina at ang mga diyos sa UP." (accessed on January 16, 2008)</ref>;
3. Jan Angelo Dollete - got killed during the initiation rites on May 6, 2006 held by the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) Fraternity <ref name="test3">"News : 2 UPLB students charged for fatal hazing." (accessed on January 16, 2008)</ref>;
4. Cris Mendez - 20-year-old UP college student killed on August 30, 2007
5. Lenny Villa - a neophyte of Aquila Legis, a fraternity in the Ateneo Law School killed in hazing February 1999
6. Alex Icasiano -
8. Edward Domingo -
9. Rafael Albano III -
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8049- AN ACT REGULATING HAZING AND OTHER FORMS OF INITIATION RITES IN FRATERNITIES, SORORITIES, AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS AND PROVIDING PENALTIES THEREFORE
SECTION 1. Hazing, as used in this Act, is an initiation rite or practice as a prerequisite for admission into membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization by placing the recruit, neophyte or applicant in some embarrassing or humiliating situations such as forcing him to do menial, silly, foolish and other similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him to physical or psychological suffering or injury.
The term "organization" shall include any club or the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Military Academy, or officer and cadet corp of the Citizen's Military Training and Citizen's Army Training. The physical, mental and psychological testing and training procedure and practices to determine and enhance the physical, mental and psychological fitness of prospective regular members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police as approved ny the Secretary of National Defense and the National Police Commission duly recommended by the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Director General of the Philippine National Police shall not be considered as hazing for the purposes of this Act.<ref name="test4">"Anti-Hazing Law." (accessed on January 16, 2008)</ref>
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, however, said in a statement, that, "Republic Act No. 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law, must undergo a comprehensive review because it has failed to stop hazing within fraternities, sororities and student organizations since its enactment.<ref name="test5">"Miriam eyes Senate probe of UP stude hazing death." (accessed on January 16, 2008)</ref>
Now, fraternities have to prove themselves so as not to be synonimized to fratwars, rumbles, killings, and campus violence. They have been facing questionable existence for some years now due to a number of crimes they have been linked with. In campuses, usual rumbles are caused by inter-fraternity wars that frequently claim lives of students and other people.
In the central city of Mandaue, 20 fraternity-related shootings were recorded by police between January and August of 2006.<ref name="test6">"Violent student brawls part of life in Asia’s swelling cities." (accessed on January 16, 2008)</ref>