‘2023 na, wala pa ring divorce’: Three senators push for divorce bill passage
MANILA, Philippines — Three senators on Tuesday made an impassioned plea, urging for a fair consideration of the proposed divorce law as several measures remain pending in the Senate.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, head of the Senate committee on women, recognized the need for the Senate to “pick up speed,” noting that the House of Representatives has already approved in principle several measures that provide for the dissolution of marriage.
“Our counterparts in the House have already been making the moves to help our country catch up with the rest of the world. The Senate must do the same,” she said in a statement, shortly before her committee convened to deliberate on several measures proposing the dissolution of marriage or the introduction of a divorce law in the Philippines.
“Past surveys have demonstrated that the majority of Filipinos favor divorce to be instituted in the country. We better listen to our people,” Hontiveros added.
The senator noted that aside from the Vatican, the Philippines is the only country that doesn’t have a divorce.
“As a secular state, this is not something to be proud of,” she pointed out. “This only shows how left behind we are in addressing the needs and recognizing the lived experiences of our people.”
“2023 na, wala pa ring divorce. It’s time to change this,” Hontiveros also said.
Senators Raffy Tulfo and Robin Padilla also underscored the importance of the measure.
According to Tulfo, the absence of a divorce law “creates a difficult situation for Filipinos,” citing countess persons stuck in a toxic or unproductive marriage “as they are left with no choice than to suffer endlessly, to the detriment of their physical and psychological well-being.”
“This representation puts forward that it is time to save Filipinos from this dead-end situation by enacting a divorce law that seeks to give substantial grounds for dissolving a marriage apart from psychological incapacity,” Tulfo then said.
He added that legalizing divorce is pro-poor and non-intrusive to religious beliefs because no one will be forced to use it.
“Those who have a strong belief in the sanctity of marriage can simply choose not to avail of the remedy of dissolution of marriage. It is just unfair to me that those who sorely need such law [are] prohibited from its application due to the convictions of another,” the senator further explained.
Padilla agreed it’s time to try the divorce law.
“Napakainam sana natin tanggapin na kung ilang taon nating hindi pinayagan ang diborsyo pwede natin sa darating na halimbawa kung ito ay maaprubahan payagan naman natin kasi nasubukan natin ang walang diborsyo, bakit di natin subukan ang meron namang diborsyo?”
(It’s better if we accept that if we didn’t allow divorce for many years, we could consider allowing it if it is approved. Because we have already experienced a society without divorce, why not try having a society with divorce?)
“Tingnan natin ang epekto. Kasi dapat ang isang demokratikong komunidad, evolving. ‘Di maging stagnant. Kung stagnant tayo wala tayong matututunan kaya dapat patuloy ang pag-ikot natin,” Padilla said.
(Let’s look at the effects. A democratic community should evolve and not be stagnant. If we are stagnant, we will not learn anything, so we should continue to evolve.)
Hontiveros adjourned the hearing, but discussions will continue at the technical working group.
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