Divorce has always been a controversial issue in the Philippines—or maybe even the world. Terminating a sacred union is still a crucial and complicated decision for both the church and the state. Moreover, several groups and organizations in the country are on both sides of the debate, slowing down the transition of the Divorce Act of 2019 into law.
The masses are still not ready to make a decision, so the question looms: should the Philippines legalize divorce? Let’s take a look at what the public has to say.
No To Divorce
Some Filipinos are entirely against divorce because of their religious beliefs, while others cite Filipino values and culture as another reason why a man and a woman shouldn’t terminate their marriage.
The Catholic Church itself condemns the existence of the Divorce Act of 2019, saying that it’s unconstitutional, anti-family, anti-children, and against Christian faith. More than 77 Catholic organizations have joined together to oppose the bill on divorce, influencing a vast number of Catholics to host multiple rallies.
Surprisingly, President Rodrigo Duterte also expressed his honest disagreement with the Senate on the divorce bill, letting former Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque share his sentiments: “He said the children would be pitiful if there will be divorce…And if there will be divorce, the abandoned spouse will lose the right to file cases against their spouse.”
Other public figures and prominent groups that also voted ‘no’ to divorce are the ALLiance For The Family Foundation Philippines Inc., Senator Joel Villanueva, and the Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Movement (led by Bro. Eddie Villanueva).
Yes To Divorce
Meanwhile, Filipinos who strongly believe that divorce should be legalized in the Philippines claim that the bill is “pro-women legislation”. They see divorce as the best exit for Filipinos experiencing domestic violence, abandonment, and adultery—since annulment and legal separation aren’t enough to save them from the consequences of a failed union.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, the former representative of Akbayan in the House of Representatives, is one of the leading figures behind the divorce bill. She’s also known for her contributions in the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law and SOGIE Equality Bill. Hontiveros is the principal author of the proposed Divorce Act of 2019. And just this year, she refiled a bill that will allow an absolute divorce in the country.
“It’s time that we give Filipinos the chance to free themselves from abusive, loveless and unhappy relationships, and to help them find love and start all over again,” Hontiveros said in a recent interview.
Strengthening the divorce bill is a recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS). The survey revealed that “53% of adult Filipinos nationwide support the legalization of divorce for irreconcilably separated couples.” The sample population all came from the country’s three main island groups, SWS confirmed that the “net agreement with the proposition was highest in Metro Manila at very strong +35, followed by moderately strong in Balance Luzon at +23, Mindanao at +15, and Visayas at +14.”
Aside from Hontiveros, other public figures and prominent groups that are also open with the idea of divorce include Senator Grace Poe, the Divorce Advocates of The Philippines (DAP), and Gabriela Women’s Party.
The Philippines, at the time of writing, is one of the few remaining countries where divorce is still illegal. Married Filipino couples have an option to go through an annulment or legal separation.
The state has yet to decide if the divorce bill would be made into law, so while the Senate and the House of Representatives are at it, make sure to find some private and public lawyers at Rakuboss.com that can help you move forward if you have marital problems that requires legal action.