Senate President of the Philippines Want Schools to Tighten Fraternity Rules

The Senate President of the Philippines is now urging the schools in the country to make an action to tighten their guidelines or rules when it comes to their existing fraternity groups. Senator Aquilino Pimentel III revealed his statement on Wednesday so that the schools will begin evaluating and monitoring the frat groups.

The Senate President wants to make sure that school institution the Philippines with existing fraternity groups must follow his recommendation to prevent any untoward incident like what happened to the UST law student few days ago who died in a brutal hazing.

According to Pimentel as published on the news online, both universities and colleges in the country need to implement “vise-like” regulations to assure that death incident during the welcome or initiation rites will not manifest just like the latest 22-year-old law student victim, Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

“It’s been more than twenty years since the Anti-Hazing Law was enacted in 1995, but the recent death of UST law student Horacio Castillo III shows us that the law itself has failed to fully deter frat members from committing acts of physical violence against neophytes,” described by Pimentel as quoted by philstar.com.

He added that it is very important for all the schools to investigate all those fraternity as well as sorority groups that do not adhere to the rules and to the imposed law of the government. He also said that these groups must not disregard the existing Republic Act 8094 or known as the Anti-Hazing Law in the Philippines.

From the statement of the Senate President also, he is urging the schools to have at least a pair of representatives who are going to observe during the initiation rites. He believes that this is one effective way in preventing any violence or death.

“University and college officials should recognize fraternities and similar organizations so they can be subject to regulation. They should then be extremely strict about requiring fraternities to submit a list of their officers and members, as well as their activities for the semester or school year,” Pimentel said.

The senate is currently reviewing the RA 8047 and possible amending the law.

Castillo Family Says Death of Atio “Barbaric,” Demands Justice for the Killers

The Death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III last Monday once again opened the inhuman behavior of some fraternity groups in the Philippines such as the Aegis Juris.

Based on the statement of the Castillo family, they death of the young Castillo is “barbaric” after he joined the brotherhood of the Aegis Juris fraternity and died during the hazing rites.

“Clearly killed by criminals from the Aegis Juris fraternity in a blatant act of hazing,” stated by the family of the victim as quoted by the news online. Adelfa Villar has this statement and given by the Castillo family during the wake of Atio at the Santuario  de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati City.

“While the death of Atio is still under investigation, it is clear to us that Atio was killed by criminals from the Aegis Juris fraternity in a blatant act of hazing. We are outraged that barbaric and criminal acts continue to be performed in the false name of brotherhood,” the statement of the family continued.

Villar is the lawyer of the Castillo’s and they are also urging the school and its Dean to help them about the ongoing investigation of the case.

“We call on Dean Nilo Divina to exhibit heroic leadership and champion the rights of Atio, his fallen student, regardless if his affiliation with this fraternity,” said family as quoted by inquirer.net.

The loved ones of the killed young Castillo also want the fraternity members to reveal the exact killers and serve justice. They also promised Atio that they will never stop and rest until they get justice for his “barbaric” death.

In line with this issue, one of the primary suspects of the UST law student killing came out on Friday in Taguig City at Senator Panfilo Lacson’s office. The authority identified him as John Paul Solano and this somehow open a good lead to identity the other suspects who took part of the hazing.

Senator Lacson is the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chairperson and is preparing to investigate the case. Solano has a lawyer with him when he went to the office and the chief of the MPD and the UST Dean are also present.

They did not yet open the wake of Atio in public as requested by his family.

 

Credit image: CNN Philippines

 

Senate Questioned Unspent P21.5B DepEd Budget in 2016

Due to the issue about unspent budget from the Department of Education (DepEd) in 2016 amounting to 21.5 billion pesos, the Senate Committee on Finance grilled the officials who attend the hearing on Monday.

The department needs to explain things further before the next budget.

From the latest news reports online, the officials of the Department of Education needed to give their sides in front of the Senate Committee on Finance because of the issue about the unspent 2016 budget of the department. According to the shared information, the committee wants DepEd to explain about the non-spent P21.5 billion budget.

The hearing on Monday focused on weighing in the capacity of the department in spending the allocated budget because the submitted proposal for the 2018 budget is bigger that is amounting to P613.1 billion.

Senator Loren Legarda instructed the education agency to complete and submit their list of infrastructures and programs affected when they returned the money to different unsuitable surplus of the general fund from the government. In addition to this, the lady senator wants them to specify the exact reasons on why they incurred the P21.5 billion budget last year.

“Before we even talk about giving you a new budget, we want to know why you returned P21.5 billion. Last week, we were very disappointed, saddened by the Department of Transportation returning P11.5 billion. Now we see DepEd returning P21.5 billion,” Senator Legarda as detailed by the Inquirer news.

“When we return funds to the Treasury, that means there are people unserved, there are classrooms not rehabilitated, there are books not printed and there are children not helped,” she continued.

The lady senator is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.

Based on the explanation of the department, they utilized about 12 billion pesos for the teacher positions, 1.3 billion pesos for provision and maintenance of basic education facilities, 5 billion pesos for Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (Gastpe), 3.6 billion pesos for provision of textbooks and instructional materials and 1 billion pesos for the technical vocational supplies, as detailed by the news reports.

DepEd is supposedly to use such budget from its allocations in 2015. However, they just carried the money over the 2016 budget.

Current Education Secretary Leonor Briones attended the hearing and answered the questions in front of the panel on Monday.