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House panel OKs Divorce bill

The House of Representatives approved on Wednesday the Marriage Dissolution Bill, a measure that seeks to introduce absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage in the Philippines.

The House committee on population and family relations approved three bills on absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage: House Bill 100 filed by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, House Bill 838 filed by Gabriela Woman’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas, and House Bill 2263 filed by former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

A technical working group has been created to consolidate the three measures. The consolidated bill will then have to secure the final approval of the committee before it is sent to the plenary for deliberations on the second reading.

The TWG will consist of  Reps. Arlene Brosas of women’s group Gabriela; Ma. Victoria Umali of A-Teacher party-list; Juliet Marie Ferrer of Negros Occidental, and Ma. Lourdes Acosta-Alba of Bukidnon.

“These (bills) should be prioritized and may be disposed of as matters already reported, upon the approval of the majority of the members,” Lagman said.

Lagman noted that the divorce bill is an “apt” sequel to the Reproductive Health and Responsible Parenthood Law, as it allows a wife to be liberated from an abusive relationship and helps her regain dignity and self-respect.

He also added that the bill will not allow for “drive-thru” or “quickie” divorces, as an absolute divorce will only be judicially decreed “after the fact of an irremediably broken marital union.”

“Divorce will not destroy marriages because there is no more marriage or happy union to speak of when couples reach the difficult decision to seek divorce. Verily, in proceedings for absolute divorce, there is no more marriage to protect or destroy because the union has long perished,” Lagman said.

Alvarez, who still represents the first congressional district of Davao del Norte, pointed out that the Philippines and Vatican City are the only places around the globe that do not have any law on divorce.

“Dalawa na lang po tayo, ang Pilipinas at ang Vatican ang walang divorce law sa buong mundo,” he said.

If the bill is signed into law, the Philippines will join every country in the world, except Vatican City, in allowing divorce.


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