FOLLOWING the hazing deaths of two Tau Gamma Phi fraternity recruits in Manila and Cebu, the organization’s Cebu City chapter has vowed to abolish paddling or any fraternity-related violence in its initiation rites.
Roniel Telebangco, chairman of Tau Gamma Phi Cebu City Council, revealed during the Open Line News Forum on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, that they will amend their initiation practices.
“Karon, amoa gyud gi-totally stop ang initiation rites (Now, we totally stopped our initiation rites),” Telebangco said.
Tau Gamma fraternity members were allegedly involved in the hazing deaths of Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig and University of Cebu-Maritime Education and Training Center student Ronnel Masamoc Baguio.
Baguio, 20, died after undergoing the fraternity’s initiation ceremonies in December 2022. The body of Salilig, who died in February 2023, was found in a vacant lot in Imus, Cavite.
Telebangco said they will put more weight on implementing Republic Act 11053, also known as the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018, by coordinating with the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
On Monday, March 20, Tau Gamma joined eight other fraternity and sorority groups in Cebu City in signing a pledge of commitment, together with the CCPO officers to end the culture of hazing at the Social Hall of Cebu City Hall. The other organizations were Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Kappa Rho, Scouts Royale Brotherhood, Beta Gamma Rho, Alpha Sigma Phi, Gamma Phi Sigma, Upsilon Phi Sigma and Alpha Phi Epsilon.
During the forum, Telebangco said they have been adhering to RA 11053, but he admitted that they cannot monitor all chapters under the Cebu City council.
The fraternity leader also said that now that they work closely with the police, hazing incidents will not happen again.
Telebangco said members who will violate the rules and regulations will undergo disciplinary action in accordance with the anti-hazing law.
“No one is above the law. If sila maghimo sila og in-ana, amoa sila ingnon nga kamo ang mapriso (If they will do it, then we will tell them that they are going to jail),” Telebangco said, adding that they will personally point out to the police the offending member if ever hazing will be committed.
Aside from the violator being penalized by the law, they will revoke the initiator’s membership and permanently dismiss him from the fraternity.
Telebangco said the council will swiftly implement the new set of rules and regulations, including the process of accepting new members once finalized.
Among the planned initiatives is to replace physical initiations with training and workshops.
Capt. Galil Nacario, chief of the Women and Children Desk of the CCPO, told SunStar Cebu that they will continue to conduct seminars and lectures to students in schools in Cebu City.
Nacario urged the educational institutions in the city to reinforce monitoring formation of school-based fraternities and sororities within schools.
She said schools play an important role in mitigating fraternity-related violence, so they must step forward to prioritize the safety of the students against hazing.
“They must be updated about the fraternities, organizations or clubs in their respective campuses. These organizations are within their schools, so the responsibility should be under the school administration,” she said in Cebuano.