Why DepEd chief won't back accreditation of frats

Posted at 07/01/14 10:38 AM

MANILA - Weighing in on the hazing debate, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said he is strongly opposed to accrediting fraternities.

Speaking on ANC's Headstart, Luistro scored the wrong sense of brotherhood that fraternities represent and the misplaced notion of joining a fraternity just to get ahead.

"I think there's this wrong notion that if you're a member of a frat, they will work for me. I'm against that very principle because it should be a principle of meritocracy. I should earn it more than I know someone, I have a backer so I get promoted," he said.

Luistro, who previously served as president for De La Salle University and College of Saint Benilde, said it will take the consolidated efforts of all stakeholders to fight the threat of hazing.

"The problem is bigger than just the schools... most of these activities are really outside. It will have to be local government and different groups working on this together," he said.

Calls to legalize fraternities came after the death of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) sophomore Guillo Cesar Servando after alleged hazing rites by the Tau Gamma fraternity.

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin T. Gatchalian earlier urged school administrators to re-examine their policies of banning fraternities and sororities, saying this is a major reason hazing activities continue to be held in secret.

The lawmaker maintained that while he respects the policy of some universities and colleges prohibiting fraternities and sororities, he thinks it has not solved the problem of hazing-related deaths.

"I think it is high time that universities and colleges reexamine their policy of banning fraternities and sororities in their campuses. The more you ban fraternities, the more they will go underground and conduct their activities sub rosa. But if you accredit them as regular school organizations, they will be forced to submit to the rules and regulations of educational institutions," Gatchalian said in a statement.

The congressman, who is senior vice chairperson of the House committees on higher and technical education, said accrediting fraternities will enable school administrators to have a copy of their constitution and by-laws, as well as the list of officers and members, which will help them keep track of fraternity activities.

"Schools should have fraternities and sororities registered so they can closely supervise the activities of such organizations, especially when it comes to their initiation ceremonies where hazing is employed," said the lawmaker.

Under Republic Act 8049, also known as the Anti-Hazing Law, hazing or initiation rites will not be allowed without a prior written notice to school authorities or head of the organization such as the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, or the Philippine Military Academy.

The said notice should include the period of initiation, which should not exceed three days, the name of the applicants, and an "undertaking that no physical violence be employed by anybody during such initiation rites."