Will Divorce Be Legalized in the Philippines

According to the announcement, the Philippines and the Vatican are currently the only two sovereign states in the world that still prohibit divorce. The announcement also explains that the approved bill includes the following grounds that can be invoked to file for divorce: The absence of legal divorce in the Philippines exacerbates existing class and gender inequalities. Under the current system, only the upper class can afford the legal means to inquire about the dissolution of unsuccessful marriages, let alone the length of the process required for legal separation. This emphasis on protecting the sanctity of marriage above all else also normalizes domestic violence, which is mainly experienced by women through verbal and sexual harassment and by children through exposure to parental conflict. In addition, the absence of divorce reflects the legislator`s lack of protection for women who are abused and unable to escape their horrific reality of marriage. Filipino Catholic believers hold up a banner against absolute divorce as they participate in a «Walk for Life» protest in a Manila park on February 24, 2018. (Photo: AFP) We are closer to legalizing divorce in the Philippines and you can probably hear the collective (secret) sighs of relief. Just yesterday, August 17, 2021, the Committee on Population and Family Relations passed a law legalizing absolute divorce in the Philippines. Now, the bill is on its way to the House of Representatives plenary. So many yas. In most countries, unhappy couples can immediately resort to good old divorce, but in the Philippines, this is just wishful thinking – after all, it is the only state outside the Vatican where this process remains out of reach. In a predominantly Catholic country, the strong position of the Church may be the main reason why the Philippines, along with Vatican City, is one of the few sovereign states to prohibit divorce.

While Vatican City has only 900 inhabitants, most people being members of the clergy, the Philippines is home to more than a hundred million people. The Philippines also recorded 431,972 marriages in 2019. In their absolute desire to protect the pride of the Filipino family, legislators influence the decisions of new generations. There is a decline in reported marriages in the Philippines, with confirmation that younger generations prefer to live together rather than marry because there are no legal mechanisms for failed partnerships. While this is not an outcome they want, for many, it is the safest option. Divorce is currently prohibited for Filipino Christians, but Filipino Muslims can divorce under Islamic law. Indeed, Muslim marriage falls under the Code of Muslim Law and not the Family Code. Divorce was allowed in the Philippines during the Japanese and American occupations and dates back to the pre-colonial period, when a number of ethnolinguistic groups practiced absolute divorce. Marriage is a social institution, the foundation of the family, and sacrosanct, but «the framers of the Constitution agreed that Congress is not prohibited or prohibited from introducing absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage under the current charter,» Lagman said. «We divorced our grandfathers and grandmothers back then. Therefore, the bill reinstates divorce only because we already had it during the Spanish occupation,» the lawmaker added.

In the absence of a legal divorce, Filipino lawmakers fail to protect women and children who are victims of violence. Women make up 49.5% of the Filipino population, but their decisions are controlled by religiously influenced laws, ironically in an independent secular country. In a country without divorce, the majority of married women are reluctant to seek annulment because they are financially dependent on their husbands. It is too risky for women to divorce, especially if their children still need financial support from them. Philippines: The House bill on divorce is approved by the committee. 2020. Website. www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2020-03-04/philippines-house-bill-on-divorce-approved-in-committee/. Divorce laws were reportedly introduced in previous legislatures but not enacted. The bill, which has just been passed, has the support of the Speaker of the House, according to MP Edcel Lagman, a supporter of the recently passed bill. Divorce should be legalized because Filipino women and children find themselves in a precarious and dangerous situation without it.

It should be legal in a country where women play an important role in society. Divorce does not dishonor the sanctity of marriage in the Philippines, but aims to give Filipino couples a more accessible choice if their marriage fails. Legalizing divorce would benefit everyone, regardless of gender, age and status. Marriage is not easy, and in bad marriages, it is often more difficult for women – especially for women who cannot afford a legal annulment or divorce. This law could change many lives, damn it, it could even save some. Let us hope that they will adopt it soon, for the good of us all. «Divorce is good for women because it will give freedom to all the countless abused women imprisoned in their failed marriages, which often lead to ongoing abuse and put women and their children at risk, if at all. There have been many cases of suicide where the abusive husband kills his wife, often even the children, and then commits suicide. That`s where you`d see the longstanding failure of Philippine law to grant access to divorce,» says Padilla.

According to the proposal, the grounds for legal separation, marriage annulment and marriage annulment on grounds of mental incapacity are grounds for absolute divorce. Others mention separation for at least five years (at the time of application), when one of the spouses undergoes a change of sex or transition to another sex, irreconcilable marital differences, other forms of domestic or marital violence, foreign divorce and annulment of the marriage by a recognized religious court. «Marriage is a contractual obligation to offer love, respect and support. The parties must divorce if there is no love, respect and support in the marriage. Divorce is for those who need it, no one forces others to file for divorce if they don`t want to. But for those who want a divorce and desperately need it, the law must offer them that option. It`s their right,» Padilla concludes. Congressman Edcel Lagman argues absolute divorce is a decent burial of a long-dead marriage Lawmakers pushing for an absolute divorce say time for the Philippines to pass legislation because broken marriages have led to more women and child abuse in the country. Lagman said Filipinos practiced divorce in pre-Hispanic times and therefore the bill was not entirely alien to Filipino culture. Lagman, who is a lawyer, told the media on July 4 that divorce is the key to freeing both sexes in a problematic relationship that reduces the quality of life for the couple and their children.

Divorce is not technically impossible for everyone in the Philippines, for Muslims who make up at least 6% of the country`s population, this procedure is allowed. This is because Muslim Filipinos adhere to a separate legal system called the Muslim Personal Law Code. This presidential decree authorizes divorce as «the formal dissolution of marriage . shall be granted only after all possible means of reconciliation between the spouses have been exhausted. Several previous policy attempts to legalize divorce, including the Divorce Act of 2019, remain unsuccessful due to strong traditional family norms in the Philippines. Those who oppose divorce see it as a threat to the sanctity of marriage, but the question remains: what is there to protect in an already broken relationship? A civil annulment goes even further by dissolving the conjugal relationship between two people. However, it may only be granted for the limited reasons provided for in the Family Code of the Philippines, as amended. Once this is over, both parties are allowed to remarry. According to the bill, divorced persons may be entitled to equal division of shared property, financial assistance from the working spouse if one of the parties is unemployed for up to one year after the divorce ends, and financial assistance for children. In the same article, Padilla revealed that due to the lack of a divorce law, many women still live with their current partner, even after years of physical, verbal, psychological and sexual abuse. «The bill to reintroduce absolute divorce is a continuation of the Reproductive Health Act, which allows the state to promote artificial contraceptives.

Like the reproductive health law, the central figure of the divorce bill is the woman, who is often abused in a dysfunctional relationship,» Lagman added.