“This is a primitive and barbaric practice.”
I’m not sure concerned authorities are keeping count of the number of deaths resulting from hazing in the country.
We do hold as sacred many time-honored Filipino traditions but hazing is part of a culture of impunity that has bedeviled colleges and universities.
There is totally no noble reason to perpetrate this primitive and barbaric practice that has ruined countless young people’s promising future.
The latest fatality, Cadet Jonas Bondoc, was found inside a bathroom in the government-run Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) naval complex in San Narciso, Zambales recently.
Bondoc suffered head and body injuries, apparently left for dead by his attacker, Midshipman 2nd Class Cadet Jomel Gloria.
Bondoc allegedly took a severe beating, particularly in the chest as part of the “traditional recognition” of underclass cadets or hazing.
Gloria was only charged with homicide and released on bail instead of non-bailable murder charge. This is simply questionable.
The aggrieved Bondoc family is crying for justice for the cadet’s death, appealing to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for thorough investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) so appropriate charges are filed.
They believe the case has all the hallmarks of a murder, such as premeditation and superior power, no different from extra-judicial killing.
This is a clear violation of Republic Act 11053 or Anti-Hazing Law like the sensational hazing cases in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA).
The senseless violence of hazing does not enhance nor contribute to the rigid regimen to develop the skills of prospective merchant marine engineers or seamen at the said government-run institution.
Bondoc is not the first PMMA 4th class cadet to die from serious physical injuries sustained during hazing.
In 2001, Cadet Fernando Balidoy succumbed to death due to hazing and then again in 2011, 4th class cadet Erik Apura died due to severe trauma in the kidney sustained during hazing.
Whatever happened to these cases?
Despite these deaths, PMMA officials have not done anything to stop hazing though they are aware of the harsh treatment of 4th class cadets by the upperclassmen.
A son of a close family friend, who went to PMMA in 2008 to follow the footsteps of his seaman Dad, almost did not finish the four year marine engineering course.
The PMMAer who is now a chief engineer in a cargo vessel, said neophytes or plebes are customarily subjected to beating by senior cadets day in and day out, including being punched in the chest and stomach.
Whenever they commit a mistake in following instructions, a whole section of first year cadets get stricken with a paddle on the buttocks, hip and thigh, the PMMA alumnus said. He showed the scars of wounds inflicted during hazing.
“At kapag hindi ka kursunada ng mga upperclassman, pinainom daw sila ng isang basong dura na puno ng sili para pamatid-uhaw daw,” he said.
Concerned parents denounced the abusive practice, saying PMMA cadets primarily train to become offshore Filipino contract workers (OFWs) unlike PMA, PNPA cadets who graduate as commissioned officers of the military and the Philippine National Police.
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Please allow me to extend my gratitude to the management and staff of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel at CCP Complex in Pasay City for making my 10-day mandatory quarantine upon my return, along with my family, from the U.S.
Days passed like a breeze as room attendants and front desk staff ensured us a most pleasant stay by the Bay, attending to our needs at all times. Thank you for the hospitality, especially the great food.
No wonder most celebrities coming back from abroad choose Sofitel for their quarantine hotel.