Palace forms task force vs fraternity violence

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Monday, September 1, 2014

THE Aquino administration has created an interagency task force to step up its efforts to prevent fraternity violence and strengthen the enforcement of the Anti-Hazing Law, Malacanang said Monday.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said he signed on August 28 Memorandum Circular 68 for the creation of the task force to be headed by the Secretary of Justice.

"President Aquino shares the concern of many parents and educators over the violations of the Anti-Hazing Law," Ochoa said.

"The task force seeks to address the need to ensure that there is justice for hazing fatalities and their families. At the same time, we have to look at whether the law can be improved so that its objectives are met," he added.

As head of the task force, the Justice chief will be given the full executive authority within the law to carry out the functions of the interagency body.

The task force chair may also give direct operational instructions to any member agencies, which include the Departments of National Defense and the Interior and Local Government, the Commission on Higher Education, the Philippine National Police, the National Youth Commission and the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs.

One of the key functions of the interagency task force is to review the Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act 8049, which was put in place in 1995, in order to prevent fraternity violence similar to the back-to-back incidents involving students from two prominent universities last July.

The interagency body is also tasked to formulate policies and develop modes of coordinating and monitoring of the implementation of programs, projects and guidelines to prevent hazing fatalities, according to the memorandum circular, which takes effect immediately.

The task force is ordered to submit a periodic report to the Office of the President. (SDR/Sunnex)

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