Women’s Groups Push for Divorce Bill

Fundamental Equality

Between January and May this year, 204 of the 294 cases of violence against women (VAW) reported to Gabriela were cases of domestic violence, Montes said. She said that aside from emotional abandonment, many of these women complained of financial neglect as they are left on their own to eke out a living for the whole family.

“Wife battery is a reality we cannot turn a blind eye to. When a woman is beaten up by her husband, she must have the freedom to leave the marriage; but at present women do not have this option because existing laws on legal separation and annulment miserably fail to address this reality,” explained Montes.

Culturally and traditionally the burden of making the marriage work and keep it intact lie on women, said Gabriela. Women are prescribed by society to sacrifice themselves to save the marriage. “But we would like to remind the state that it is its policy to ensure fundamental equality, before the law, of women and men; and where a woman is confined to a marriage where she only knows suffering, there is nothing of that equality,” Montes said.

Living Proof

This is the reason why GWP actively supports HB 1799; they called on their colleagues in Congress to make the divorce bill a living proof that it is a “progressive and forward-looking House”.
Ilagan said she believes Congress would allow for intelligent and rights-based discourse on the bill as that is consistent with House Speaker Sonny Belmonte’s call for each and every representative to “overcome self-interest to raise Filipinos and the Philippines to a proud stature in the global ranking of nations”.
For Reazo, she hopes the HB 1799 wouyld soon be passed so she could make her second marriage legal. In 2005, she and her second husband got married through a pastor because she was about to give birth then to their second child. “We did that so our children can use his surname.”

The Philippines is a conservative country that thinks a divorce law will only create more broken families because a couple with problems could easily opt for divorce. Some believe that if the divorce bill is passed it will make a mockery of marriage.

But for Reazo’s mother who previously opposed her daughter’s early marriage because the young couple then knew little about each other, one should think hard first before jumping into marriage.

Rep. De Jesus stressed that in other Catholic countries like Spain and Italy where a divorce law is in force, it did not necessarily resulted in an increase in divorce cases filed in court.

De Jesus added that as early as on the first week after the divorce bill was filed and tackled by media, some sectors are already forwarding biased and unfounded fears. She said Gabriela has counseled a lot of married women who have been abused or battered, but who considered leaving their husbands only after years and years of repetitive and cyclical battering.

“A couple who is in a happy or satisfactory marital relationship would definitely not seek divorce just because it is legal. It is not easy to build a quality marital relationship. We at Gabriela would be the first to advice couples to work more on their relationship as this redounds to their holistic wellbeing and promotion of the rights of both partners in the relationship,” she said.

For Gabriela, the passage of a law allowing divorce is long overdue. It is necessary in a society where women remain marginalized and prone to many forms of domestic violence and abuses. (Bulatlat.com)

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4 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. I am for divorce. We must all be realistic–why must spouses be together when there is no longer any semblance of a harmonious union? In effect, the whole family will just suffer. The children will eventually understand the situation when they get older and thus clearing things up. The respective spouses must be given the fair opportunity to re-marry. We all deserve to have a second chance at marriage.
    I hope that Gabriela would try to launch signature campaigns at busy places where people, particularly women, converge. More power!

  2. See? Till death do us part daw eh. Yan ang ipinipilit ng simbahan. Kaya yang mga battered wife na yan, bayaan na lang mamatay dahil sa pambubugbog ng asawa mapanindigan lang yan till death do us part ng simbahan. How cruel! Yan ba ang ipinaglalaban ng simbahan natin? You don't know how it feels like to suffer when you are being beaten by someone who is supposed to protect you.

  3. Ok na may divorce ang Pinas…diyan lang magaling ang mga religious group sa sa pagharang harang sa ganoon na bill.. Christian Country daw ang Pinas bakit sa Roma at Italy nandoon ang Santo Papa walang problema sa kanila. OA! lang ang mga religious group sa atin sa totoo lang hindi naman sila makatulong kong may problema ang mag asawa. Sana manahimik nalang sila hindi naman pinagbayad nang tax sa gobyerno.

  4. Those who seek only happiness in their married life is never true marriage at at all….

    If they only marry for the sake of getting divorced again because of misgivings, its better not to get married at all….

    The message of marriage is indissolubility and permanence. Both male and female made exchanges with each other "for richer, for poorer, in good times and bad, in sickness and health, until death do us part…" They swore not only to GOD but to the people who act as witness to the bind….

    Divorce never solves a shaky marriage….it worsens it…

    Divorce is nothing more but doing what they want to mock up marriage if it does not go according to plan….to gain advantage of their partner.

    As I see it, P-noy wants a divorce bill to be pushed by legislative to suit the needs of his sister who is filing an annulment case which is a dis-adv to his sister….Just like his mother putting an SDO provision on the agrarian reform law to spare their family land…. Too sad, but its just my opinion to say so..

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