30 May 2011

Philippine Congress set to tackle divorce bill

As it deliberates on the Reproductive Health bill in plenary, the House of Representatives is likewise about to start working on another controversial measure on Wednesday: the proposed Divorce Bill of the Philippines.

Gabriel party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan made the announcement right after Malta voted in a referendum to pass a divorce law—giving the Philippines the distinction of being the only country outside of the Vatican City without a divorce law.

“Congress to take up Gabriela's Divorce Bill on Wednesday. Committee on Revision of Laws 930am," Ilagan said in her Twitter account.

Ilagan’s bill is the first of 2 divorce measures pending before the 15th Congress. Ilagan filed her bill in July 2010, while Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez filed a similar bill just last March.

A divorce bill was first introduced during the 11th Congress—right about the same time the RH Bill was also introduced for the 1st time in post-1986 Congresses.

Both controversial measures have been pending before the House for at least 13 years.

Ilagan said in a statement emailed to reporters: “Let us not keep our country in the dark ages. I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to let the legislative mill run its course on the Divorce bill without further delay and give Filipino couples in irreparable and unhappy marriages this option.”

Ilagan’s  bill proposes five grounds for the filing of a petition for divorce. According to the measure, couples who may apply for divorce include those who have been separated in fact for five years and those already legally separated for two years.

Grounds for legal separation may also apply when these same grounds have already caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.

In addition, psychological incapacity, causing one's failure to comply with essential marital obligations and irreconcilable differences causing the irreparable breakdown of the marriage are also recognized as grounds for divorce.

Ilagan cites official figures from the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2009 that showed that 19 women fall victims to marital violence every day. Among the forms of violence and abuse against women committed in 2009, wife battery ranked the highest at 6,783 or 72%.

Malta’s Prime Minister said while the referendum’s result is not one he expected, he would not stand in the way of passage of the bill.

Malta and the Philippines are both predominantly conservative Catholic countries.

Source: ABS CBN News



Mariel May 30, 2011 at 10:37 PM  

I think that's another topic to be hotly debated by the Church and the government. They should settle first the RH bill before pushing into another controversy.

Mariel from Cagayan de Oro (http://www.cdokay.com)


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