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Phl solons seek HK Pinoy’s inputs on divorce bill

01 October 2017


By Daisy CL Mandap
A group of lawmakers from the Philippines is set to hold a landmark public consultation with Filipinos in Hong Kong on Oct. 1 on divorce bills currently pending before the House of Representatives.
Those who will lead the consultation set between 5 and 7pm at the Philippine Consulate’s public area are members of the House Committee on Population and Family Relations, led by Deputy House Speaker  Pia Cayetano (Taguig City, 2nd dist).
Also in the list are Reps. Gwen Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district); Sol Aragones (Laguna, 3rd dist); Geraldine Roman (Bataan, 1st dist); Teddy Baguilat (Ifugao, lone district); Ranie Abu (Batangas, 2nd dist); Lourdes Aggabao (Isabela, 4th dist); Aniceto Bertiz III (ACT-OFW party list) and Emmie de Jesus (Gabriela party list).
The bills that would be presented for discussion were authored by various House members, with the most comprehensive coming from Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay, 1st dist). The bill brings out the surprising fact that divorce used to be allowed in the Philippines from as far back as the Spanish rule, and was outlawed only when the Civil Code was passed in 1950.
Lagman suggests carrying over all the grounds for obtaining legal separation and annulment under present legislation to the new law on divorce.
The most liberal is the draft bill submitted by Rep. de Jesus which allows divorce when the spouses have been physically separated for at least five years.
Filcom leaders largely welcomed the consultation, the second in as many months by a Congressional delegation, with many saying they are in favor of divorce being legalized in the Philippines.
Leo Selomenio, chair of Global Alliance said: “Coming from a predominantly Catholic country, I should probably oppose a divorce law. However, the reality in our country these days suggest we must have divorce to give justice and respect to battered wives and victims of infidelity by the other spouse. While marriage should remain sacred, reality dictates that there should be a way out for those in an abusive situation.
Marites Palma, adviser of the Roxas Group of Migrants and contributor of The SUN, agreed that the time is ripe for divorce to be allowed in the Philippines.
“In favor po ako sa divorce dahil naniniwala ako na kung wala ng pag-ibig sa puso mo para sa asawa mo ay wala ng dahilan para ituloy ang pagsasama,” she said.
This alienation, according to her, could be the result of the other spouse’s infidelity, irresponsibility, and substance abuse which puts the whole family’s security at risk.”
“Mas mainam na mawala ang bisa ng kasal para malagay na sa tahimik ang buhay ng bawa’t isa.”
A prominent Hong Kong resident and outspoken leader, Daphne Ceniza-Kuok, said she is also in favor of divorce, but a law allowing it should not be passed only because it favors high-ranking officials known for their philandering ways.

Last month, another congressional delegation led by Rep, Winston Castelo (Q.C., 1st dist) held a public consultation on issues confronting overseas Filipino workers.
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