Reps. Gwen, Pia urge Senators to pass divorce bill
Two congresswomen are calling on the Senate to keep an open mind and consider legalizing absolute divorce in the country.
Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia (Cebu 3rd district), who was one of the sponsors of House Bill 7303 or “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines,” said that Filipinos should be given an option, especially if marriage doesn’t already work for couples.
“Whether we admit it or not, some marriages just don’t work and others are trapped in an abusive relationship inside a marriage,” Garcia said.
Last Monday, the Lower House has overwhelmingly approved on third and final reading House Bill 7303, with 134-57 votes with 2 abstained.
Garcia said that if this option would not be available to every Filipinos, they would be deprived of rebuilding their lives and to marry again, especially that the process of annulment had been lengthy and expensive.
“If their concerns are the children, it’s precisely much worst for them if they are forced to live in a family where they would only witness their parents fighting each other and they even get physical. Sometimes children will even get involved in fights,” she added.
She reiterated that if a relationship would no longer work, then couples should be given an option to end it, and a chance to start over again with their lives.
By finding another love and marrying again, Garcia said this situation would result into a more stable family environment, especially to the kids.
She also clarified that their intention was not to promote divorce, but to give couples an option.
“They don’t have to fear that many couples might end up in divorce. Look at other Catholic countries with existing law on divorce; they have the lowest incident of divorce,” she said.
She added that divorce is just a matter of choice and that the state has the responsibility to its citizens to give an option, not just for rich couples but to the poor families as well.
Rep. Pia Cayetano (Taguig, 2nd district), for her part, also made a similar appeal to the Senate during her visit in Cebu on Friday where she was one of the speakers in a forum at University of San Carlos.
Cayetano, who is a former senator, called on the senators to listen to the voice of the people.
Cayetano said that she used to be in the Senate and out of courtesy and respect to the current senators, she would leave the decision them.
“But I do appeal to each and everyone of my colleagues in the same way I appealed to my co-members in the House of Representatives to listen to the voice of our Filipino people,” said Cayetano.
Cayetano admitted that she heard a lot of arguments about the divorce bill like “it will open the flood gates” of separation or there would be more divorced families.
But she said that the reality is that even before the divorce bill was passed in Congress, there were already families that were separated.
“Look around. My challenge to every human being — wala ka bang kakilala na hindi naghihiwalay? Within your family or the community? (Ang pag)Hiwalay sometimes is very painful and a difficult way. So do not say na divorce created those separation,” Cayetano said.
(Look around. My challenge to every human being — have you not known anybody who had been separated from his wife or her husband? Within your family or the community? Being separated sometimes is very painful and difficult, so do not say that divorce created those separations.)
She said that those separations were created by problems that existed in the family even before the country had the divorce bill.
“That is one misconception that I would like to address,” said Cayetano.
Another misconception, Cayetano said, that the Constitution should strengthen the family and having a divorce law would defeat it.
She said that the divorce bill had provisions, which would strengthen the family and that would include counseling.
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