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Senators support divorce bill

April 18, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 162 views

MORE senators have expressed various reactions to the controversial Divorce Bill or Dissolution of Marriage Act otherwise known as Senate Bill 147.

Senator Risa Hontiveros yesterday renewed her call to pass Senate Bill 147 or the Dissolution of Marriage Act.

Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, stressed that women who are victim-survivors of domestic abuse need this legal recourse.

“Some Filipino women have almost been killed by their own husbands. But most of them cannot leave their marriages because of the prohibitive costs of filing for an annulment. Bigyan na natin ang ating mga kababaihan ng pagkakataong makalaya sa masalimuot at abusadong pagsasama. Bigyan natin sila ng oportunidad na mahalin at magmahal muli. Ipasa na ang Divorce Bill,” said Hontiveros, author of the measure.

According to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey by the Philippines Statistics Authority, one in four married women aged 15 to 49 years old has experienced spousal violence, whether physical, sexual, or emotional. Surveys also report that most of those who agree to instituting divorce are women.

“When a marriage becomes irreparable, it is incumbent upon the State to not only provide relief to spouses, but also protect children from the pain, anxiety, and trauma of witnessing regular marital clashes. Let us give Filipino families the chance to let go of toxic relationships,” Hontiveros said.

In 2017, the Social Weather Station ran a survey, revealing that 53% agreed to legalize divorce. Another survey, run by the Catholic Radio Veritas in 2018, showed that 52% “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” to the measure.

Hontiveros added that the Senate needs to pick up speed, as the House of Representatives has approved, in principle, bills 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. Past surveys have demonstrated that the majority of Filipinos favor divorce to be instituted in the country. We better listen to our people,” Hontiveros said.

“We are the only country, aside from the Vatican, that doesn’t have divorce. As a secular state, this is not something to be proud of. 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 concluded.

Senator Robinhood Robin Padilla who was in favor of passing of divorce bill insisted on the need for an open, orderly and peaceful discourse and view toward divorce.

“Sa kasamaang palad, ang ating mga umiiral na batas ay hindi tumutugon sa masalimuot at delikadong dinamika ng iba’t ibang uri ng pamilya, lalo na ng ilan kung saan ang kasal ay tuluyan nang nawasak at hindi na kailanman mabubuo pa. Sa mga ganitong pagkakataon, ang diborsyo ay hindi banta sa kabanalan ng kasal; ang diborsyo po ay pagtanggap sa realidad na walang anumang uri ng lunas ang kayang humilom sa ilang pagsasamang tuluyan nang nawasak at nasira,” he said.

“Sa kabuuan, aking lubos na nauunawaan na ang paksang ito ay masalimuot at may direktang implikasyon sa lahat na indibidwal at pamilya.

Sa gayon, hiling ko po na bawa’t isa ay bukas sa maayos at payapang diskurso. Dapat nating limiin ang isyung ito na may simpatiya, paggalang at dahan dahang makinig sa lahat ng boses kabilang ang may salungat na pananaw. Inshaallah, tayong lahat ay matuto na sa makabuluhang dayalogo na hahantong sa isang resolution na sumasalamin sa ating mga pagpapahalaga bilang isang bansa,” he added.

Padilla likewise stressed that while it is never easy to end a marriage, divorce provides a legal protection to families where love, respect and support have been exhausted.

He added a 2017 survey showed 53% of Filipinos have a positive disposition on the need for divorce.

Senator Raffy Tulfo said the divorce bill is an act of social justice that would give people a fresh start from a miserable marriage as he strongly supports its enactment.

In the hearing, Tulfo said based on his experience as a public servant, he had witnessed countless persons stuck in toxic or unproductive marriages.

“The quality of family life for spouses who are already in an unhealthy marital relationship is not what was envisioned by the State as something that needs protecting,” Tulfo said.

“I join my colleagues in the Senate who have passed a similar bill and hope that we harmonize all the best provisions in order to give Filipino families a chance to save himself from endless sufferings,” he added.

Tulfo explained that while Executive Order no. 209 or the FamilyCode of thePhilippines provides various remedies for the termination of a marital union, those processes have proven to be excessively adversarial, tedious, and unjustly expensive, especially for the poor.