The Divorce Act of 2019 aims to remove the Philippines from the short list of countries where divorce is not an option (the only other state being Vatican City). It was originally filed in January of 2019 but was not given due attention in Congress, possibly due to the high volume of pending bills. Senator Risa Hontiveros refiled the bill allowing absolute divorce in the country just last July 10, Wednesday.
Under the bill, grounds for divorce include “psychological incapacity of either house, irreconcilable marital differences, marital rape or being separated for at least 5 years.” According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), 1 in 4 women experienced domestic violence in 2018 which is why Senator Hontiveros pushes that “it is our duty to protect the well-being and quality of life of our people, especially our women.”
She further explains: “They (women), together with their children, deserve not only a second chance but all the chances available in this world to find true and meaningful relationships and build nurturing families.” She believes this protection to be a function of the state since “it is also duty-bound to promote and protect the well-being of its citizens. It is a duty that should extend to circumstances whereby this well-being is being compromised by the inability to break free from irremediably broken marriages and start anew in healthier family and living arrangements.”
There is much hope for the divorce bill this time around as Senate President Tito Sotto has announced openness to discussing the measure during senate sessions.
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