Divorce bill gets House panel’s nod; group formed to combine proposals

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - Inquirer.net | February 05,2020 - 02:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines — A bill instituting divorce in the Philippines has been approved by a House of Representatives panel while a technical working group (TWG) has been formed to consolidate other proposals and inputs from resource persons.

During the hearing of the House committee on population and family relations on Wednesday, the panel approved House Bill No. 100 or the Absolute Divorce Bill of 2019, which was authored by Albay 5th District Rep. Edcel Lagman.

Lagman moved to approve the bill, with no one objecting to the motion. Committee chair and Guimaras Rep. Ma. Lucille Nava approved the motion, before appointing Lagman to lead the TWG.

The TWG is tasked to combine HB 100 with other divorce bills authored by Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

“Itong (This) technical working group, I will convene it most probably by next week, depending on the availability of the members, or [the] week after next.  But definitely within the month of February, this will be approved already, with a corresponding committee report,” Lagman said in an ambush interview after the hearing.

“The members are Rep. Arlene Brosas, Rep. (Juliet Marie) Ferrer, and Rep. (Ma. Victoria) Umali.  We are going to convene as soon as possible,” he added.

Several resource persons – both in favor and against the divorce – were present during the discussions and voiced their opinions on the said issue.  Some of the proposals centered on changing the name of divorce to respect faith-based Filipinos, up to eventually just amending existing provisions on annulment.

Pro-family groups also stood against divorce, saying the Philippines being the only country in the world to have no laws on divorce – aside from city-state Vatican, which is the center of Catholicism — is not something to be ashamed of.

Lagman said they would consider the suggestions while Brosas, a known advocate of divorce, clarified that contrasting opinions are very much welcome.

“We are also going to consider during the technical working group some of the inputs of the resource persons because there were some inputs which most probably we could include in the bill,” Lagman said.

Edited by KGA

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