Students hold naked protests against violent hazing in the Philippines

Manila, Apr 3 (EFE).- A group of students from the University of the Philippines (UP) held a naked demonstration on Monday inside their campus, in Manila, calling for an end to violent hazing following the death of a young man in February in one of these rites of initiation.

“Students, professors and members of the university fraternities must stop these barbaric acts that we call hazing,” a member of the fraternity Alpha-Omega-Phi – the group that organized the protest – told EFE under anonymity.

Around 70 students, wearing masks, walked around naked – something unusual in a conservative country like the Philippines – while shouting slogans and carrying banners demanding an end to violent hazing rituals in educational institutions.

These rites of initiation in university fraternities have once again been at the receiving end of much criticism in the Philippines following the death of a 24-year-old student, Matthew Salilig, on Feb.19 this year.

Salilig succumbed to injuries sustained from beatings by seven members of the Tau Gamma Phi student group, of the University of Adamson (Manila), during one of their initiation rites.

So far, seven members of the fraternity involved in the hazing have been charged with Salilig’s death, and face penalties of up to 40 years in prison under its so-called anti-hazing law.

Although the Philippines passed a law against hazing in 1995, the practice still continues in the country, while discussions continue regarding possible further actions in this regard.

These university fraternities, in which all members are assigned an alias once they pass the initiation ritual, are very popular in the Philippines. The last two heads of state were also a part of these fraternities in their youth.

Despite their popularity, there have been calls from many quarters for the ban or regulation of these rites for years.

Since 2000, at least 50 young people have died during these hazing rituals in the Philippines, according to the local media ABS-CBN. EFE


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