If you’re a bit confused about the status of divorce legalization in the country, you’re not alone. On Aug. 17, a substitute divorce bill was approved for plenary deliberation. If you’re thinking, “Didn’t the divorce bill pass its third reading already?” No, that’s a different one.
The House Committee on Population and Family Relations has approved the committee report and unnumbered substitute bill, according to a social media post from Gabriela. The bill seeks to reinstitute absolute divorce as an alternative mode of dissolution of marriage. Currently, the Philippines is the only country besides the Vatican City that prohibits absolute divorce.
The next step for the bill to get passed into law is a second reading—a tall order since the partylist and other lawmakers have proposed several versions before, all of which languished in Congress for years.
“Taong 2005 pa noong unang isinampa ito ng Gabriela Women’s Party, at mula rito ay laging nasa priority legislation namin ang pagkakaroon ng divorce dito sa ating bansa,” said Rep. Arlene Brosas during the hearing. “It is about time that we offer spouses, especially wives, the added legal option to exit toxic and abusive marital relationships. This representation believes that with the growing support of the Filipino people, we can advance this measure further.”
According to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, grounds for absolute divorce are covered by the bill through justifications for legal separation, annulment of marriage, and nullification of marriage based on psychological incapacity under the Family Code of the Philippines.
So far, House Bill No. 7303 is the closest that a divorce bill has come to passage. In March 2018, it was approved for final reading by the House of Representatives but not by the Senate. Hopefully, we can go over that hurdle this time around.
We’ve been busting myths about divorce ruining the sanctity of marriage for years and how annulment doesn’t work as an alternative, especially for low-income households and survivors of domestic abuse. Pass divorce now!