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Philippines

CARDINAL VIDAL CONDEMNS FRATERNITY HAZING DEATH

Updated: October 20, 1991 05:00 PM GMT
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Cardinal Ricardo Vidal of Cebu condemned the death of a college student here during initiation rites in a fraternity at the University of the Visayas.

Frederick Cahiyang, 18, a second-year civil engineering student, died Oct. 13 during rites of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity.

"The form of violence inflicted on Cahiyang is condemnable," Monsignor Achilles Dakay, Cardinal Vidal´s spokesman, quoted the prelate as saying.

"This is a relevant issue that should set us thinking," the cardinal said, stressing that the faithful should talk about stopping all forms of violence.

According to Monsignor Dakay, Cardinal Vidal has asked parishes in the archdiocese to make the Cahiyang case a subject of serious discussion in Basic Ecclesial Communities.

Dakay also said Cardinal Vidal has instructed priests in the parishes to preach against hazing to help prevent more deaths among youths in fraternities and sororities.

The Cebu archbishop also asked school officials to look into the constitution and bylaws of the student organizations here to determine the details of hazing practiced during initiation rites.

Neophytes wishing to join fraternities are subjected to physical and psychological trials that in most cases include intense bodily harm. Some say they go through the ordeal to become part of a tradition of brother- or sisterhood.

The Cahiyang incident horrified parents and caused public outcry against hazing by fraternities of schools in Cebu, 560 kilometers southeast of Manila.

It was the first publicized fatal result of hazing in Cebu schools.

During a visit here Oct. 13, Senate President Jovito Salonga urged fraternities all over the country to observe the covenant against hazing during initiation rites.

He noted that APO was among the covenant´s signatories.

"I really hope that this covenant will be observed as a model by other fraternities all over the country," Salonga told reporters here.

After the incident, the Cebu Provincial Board adopted a resolution urging the Philippines Congress to hasten passage of an anti-hazing bill pending in the House of Representatives.

The bill was filed after the highly publicized death of Leonardo Villa and serious injuring of Bienvenido Marquez III Feb. 8 during initiation rites of Aquila Legis (Eagles of Law) fraternity of Jesuit Ateneo De Manila law school students.

The National Bureau of Investigation has filed charges of homicide and serious physical injuries against six fraternity members including Aquila President Florencio Ampil, former deputy commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission. The initiation rites reportedly took place in Ampil´s house.

END

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