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Thread: Is Philippines ready for a divorce law?

  1. #1

    Is Philippines ready for a divorce law?

    Is Philippines ready for a divorce law?

    By Jojo Malig,
    Posted at 06/07/2012 8:16 PM | Updated as of 06/07/2012 9:07 PM

    MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines remains the only nation in the world that does not have a law legalizing divorce. Is the country ready for such a law?

    Gabriela Party Rep. Luz Ilagan believes that it is time that the country moves forward and help couples who can no longer live together.

    Ilagan and and fellow lawmaker Emmi de Jesus have filed a House bill introducing divorce in the Philippines that is now with the House committee on revision of laws.

    She said they are now waiting for the committee to schedule hearings to ask the sponsors and resource persons to explain the pros and cons of the proposed legislation.

    House Speaker Sonny Belmonte on Wednesday said the divorce bill will be among the priority measures that will be tackled when Congress opens its 3rd regular session in late July.

    Belmonte said he is supporting the enactment of a divorce law in the country.

    Ilagan, in an interview with radio dzMM Thursday, said the country is ready for a divorce law.

    PH only country without divorce

    "We are ready and we are the only country left now. Two years ago, we still had Malta," she said.

    "But when Malta had a referendum last year, na kahit iyung presidente nila was reluctant to grant divorce, noong makita niya iyung results ng kanilang referendum ay pumayag. Kaya ang Philippines na lang ang natitirang bansa na walang divorce," she said.

    She said Italy, where the Vatican City is located, allows divorce. The Vatican, which is technically a sovereign city-state, does not allow divorce.

    Current Philippine laws only allow annulment of marriage -- a long, expensive, and painful legal process for estranged couples who no longer want to live together as man and wife.

    Not Vegas-style divorce

    Ilagan said the conservatives in the Philippines should not compare the proposed legislation with lax laws on divorce in other countries such as the United States.

    "May kaibahan, sa Amerika kaya tinatawag natin na divorce Las Vegas-style, puwedeng mag-asawa ngayon, tapos kapag hindi nila type, kahit mababaw lang ang dahilan, puwede na mag-divorce," she said.

    "Sa atin naman, Pinoy style, mayroong mga kondisyon. Hindi madali na makuha rin iyung divorce. May mga kundisyon tayong inilagay sa isinusulong nating panukalang batas," she explained.

    5 grounds for divorce

    Ilagan's bill proposes 5 grounds for divorce.

    Couples who want to avail of divorce will need to fulfill at least one of the conditions set forth in the bill, if it becomes law.

    According to the measure, couples who may apply for divorce include those who have been separated in fact for 5 years or those already legally separated for 2 years.

    "Number 3, is when the couple have the situation na nandoon iyung condition for legal separation such as marital infidelity, abandonment, one of the spouses has been convicted for more than 6 years, and domestic violence," she said. "Ito naman ang mga basis for legal separation. Kung nandiyan iyan, puwede nang mag-file din ng divorce."

    Grounds for legal separation may also apply when these same grounds have already caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.

    In addition, psychological incapacity, causing one's failure to comply with essential marital obligations, and irreconcilable differences causing the irreparable breakdown of the marriage, will also be recognized as grounds for divorce.

    Ilagan said under the proposed law, it will be the courts that will determine if couples are qualified to apply for divorce.

    "It has to be proven in court, kasi hindi naman just because you filed for a divorce, you automatically get it," she said. "Siyempre ang korte ang magwe-weigh."

    Divorce less expensive

    She said the proposed divorce process will not be as financially, emotionally, and legally taxing as annulment.

    "Mas hindi mahal pero hindi siya murang-mura naman na this will become very, very easy that people will avail of," she said. "Kasi, mayroon pa ring effort, mayroon pa ring proseso na susndin to reconcile."

    "There will still be some expenses to be incurred dahil magha-hire ka pa rin ng lawyer pero this will not be as difficult or expensive as annulment," she added.

    Ilagan cited data from the Office of the Solicitor General that says in Metro Manila alone, around 800 cases are being filed in courts for legal separation and annulment every month.

    "Majority of these (annulment petitioners) are women, and 92% are Catholic. Kailangan talaga, harapin na natin ang problemang ito," she said.

    Support from lawmakers

    Even as the head of the lower House is supporting the proposal, Ilagan said the Senate is also likely to throw its weight behind a divorce bill.

    She cited the cases of 4 senators who either have annulled marriages or are undergoing the process.

    They are Senators Francis Escudero, Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, and Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.

    Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, during the renewal of her wedding vows last year, also expressed support for divorce to be legalized in the Philippines.

    "I think divorce should be available to people who become homicidal at the sight of each other. That's so much better than making each other miserable for the rest of their lives and impacting the lives of their children as well. I've always made known my views since I was RTC (Regional Trial Court) judge," she said.

    "I am in favor of a divorce bill provided that grounds for divorce are very strict so that we will not encourage young people to rush into marriage and then rush out by divorce," Santiago said.

    "I think the Senate is more open," Ilagan said. "They (senators) have revealed situations na they would be sympathetic to people who would like to have divorce."

    "I'm sure marami din naman sa lower House na nakakaintindi. Itong bill na ito, inisip para tugunan ang pangangailangan ng atin mga kababayan," she added. Changing The Face of The Game!

  2. #2
    Ah yes, that awful "D" word.

    By all means let us allow divorce in these Islands. BUT, once and only once per person. If a person gets married in this country, and later on decides to divorce their spouse in this country as well, let's allow the process to flow and terminate to whatever conclusion. If it concludes in divorce, then that person can never again procure another divorce in this country, regardless of his / her citizenship.

    So if Oleg the Russian marries Eun Seung the Korean in Boracay, and then they decide later on to divorce in Pagudpud, if either of them ever contract marriage in this country again, they can no longer get a divorce in this country.

    The same will of course hold true all the more if both marrying parties are Philippine citizens, or if one of the marrying parties is a Philippine citizen.

    In case of Philippine citizens, and nationals of other countries, who procure valid divorces overseas, then the Philippines must also recognize those divorces. ALSO, if one Philippine spouse procures a valid divorce overseas, regardless of the legal mechanics therein, then the other spouse is deemed divorced as well, to avoid the ridiculous situation of one Filipino able to marry while his / her kapwa Pilipino spouse is unable to do the same just because one of them (was a dick and...) could afford to get a divorce overseas.

    So for example, Mayumi was married to Magtanggol for 10 years, and Mayumi just up and decides she does not want to be married to Magtanggol anymore. If Mayumi goes to the Comorros Islands to get a unilateral divorce (which let us presume is legal on those Islands) then Magtanggol is deemed to be divorced as well, whether or not he acceded to the Comorros divorce of Mayumi.

  3. #3
    Divorce bill next–Belmonte

    PH only country in the world where divorce is still banned

    By Christian V. Esguerra

    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    12:06 am | Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

    While Roman Catholic bishops and prolife groups were still recovering from their crushing defeat on the reproductive health (RH) bill, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte dropped yet another bombshell—he wants a divorce law in predominantly Catholic Philippines.

    “Me, I’m in favor of the divorce bill,” Belmonte said Tuesday when asked during a pre-Christmas lunch with reporters.

    But he admitted that passing a divorce bill would have to wait because congressmen would be busy campaigning for next year’s midterm elections.

    Asked if a divorce law would be passed in the next Congress, Belmonte—who described himself as a Christian—said he didn’t know what the composition of the House of Representatives would be then, “but I think so.”

    After Malta legalized divorced last year, the Philippines has become the only country in the world—apart from the Vatican—without a divorce law.

    Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana de Jesus of the militant group Gabriela have a pending bill seeking to amend the Family Code to include a divorce provision.

    Belmonte said the measure remained at the committee level and was unlikely to be passed soon.

    “Not this time, but it’s there at the back of our minds,” he said. “I just want the idea to be there … I want that to remain in the consciousness of congressmen so at some point, we can take it up again.”

    Failed, unhappy marriages

    In their explanatory note to House Bill No. 1799, Ilagan and De Jesus said their divorce proposal was in line with “the policy of the State to protect and strengthen marriage and the family as basic social institutions.”

    “Reality tells us that there are many failed, unhappy marriages across all Filipino classes,” they said. “Many couples, especially from the marginalized sectors who have no access to the courts, simply end up separating without the benefit of legal processes.”

    The two lawmakers said “cultural prescriptions and religious norms keep many couples together despite the breakdown of their marriages.”

    Bigger fight

    “While absolute fidelity is demanded of wives, men are granted sexual license to have affairs outside marriage. Yet when the marriage fails, the woman is blamed for its failure,” they added.

    But Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez—an opponent of the RH bill—rejected the divorce proposal, warning it would further erode family values.

    “If we opposed the RH bill, the more that we will oppose a divorce bill,” Rodriguez told the Inquirer. “This will definitely destroy families and the future of their children.”

    Rodriguez did not appear surprised that discussions on a divorce law were now happening, especially after Congress passed the RH bill despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church.

    He earlier warned that an RH law would open a “pandora’s box” of related demands, such as legislation on abortion, divorce and same-sex marriage.

    “That’s the progression,” he said. “All they need is a crack to open and change our values system.”

    A covenant, a ‘mystery’

    The Church considers marriage a “covenant” and has long opposed divorce, allowing annulment but under strict conditions.

    “Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures and spiritual attitudes,” according to the Catechism of the Church.

    “The Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its ‘mystery,’ its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal ‘in the Lord’ in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church.”

    Belmonte justified his preference for a divorce law, saying: “If your lives are no longer tolerable, why (not divorce)?”

    Now that Congress has passed the RH bill, he said he would reach out to Catholic bishops.

    “I would, definitely I would,” he said. “I don’t see any lasting acrimony between us.”

    Grounds for divorce

    HB 1799 cites five grounds for divorce, among them “irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.”

    Divorce can also be sought if the “petitioner has been separated de facto from his or her spouse for at least five years at the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable.” Legal separation from a spouse “for at least two years” is also a ground, according to the bill.

    “When one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations,” he or she could also file for divorce. Any of the existing grounds for legal separation that has caused “irreparable breakdown of marriage” could also be a ground.

  4. #4
    ^ What is "annulment" as found in the Family Code of 1988, and which was crafted with help from the Catholic Church, or rather taken nearly verbatim from the Church Canon on Annulment, if not divorce? It is a dissolution of the marriage bond, which is what divorce is. So what seems to be the problem? Oh wait, perhaps the problem is that the Church simply does not like the sound of the word "divorce". Let me go out on a limb here and categorically state that as far as I'm concerned annulment = divorce.

  5. #5
    Divorce talk irks Church

    Bishops warn of ‘culture of death,’ destruction of family

    By Philip C. Tubeza

    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    12:02 am | Thursday, December 20th, 2012

    Don’t rub salt in the wound.

    Catholic Church leaders warned that the proposal to introduce divorce in the Philippines would further divide the country after the bitter debate over the contentious reproductive health (RH) bill and implant a “culture of death” in the nation.

    Retired Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani said Speaker Feliciano Belmonte’s plan to enact a divorce bill in the next Congress was “not a good development” for the country.

    Bacani, along with other bishops and the Catholic Vote Philippines alliance, said that proponents of the bill would have a tougher time pushing the measure compared with the 14-year struggle that RH supporters went through.

    “Divorce will not be a very good development, in my own personal opinion, especially after the RH bill that has so severely divided the nation,” Bacani said in an interview. “It will further divide the country.”

    He said that one big lesson the Church learned from the RH controversy was the need to educate the people.

    Bacani said the harm divorce would bring was clear in statistics, not just in social costs. “It will also destroy the very sacred nature of marriage,” he said.

    When asked what his message to President Aquino was, Bacani said, “I don’t have a message to him because he does not listen to what we are saying.”

    Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said he had requested a meeting of the bishops to discuss the Church position on the issue.

    “I feel sad because some people, or many of the legislators, have the belief that anything they legislate is good and it’s for the good of the country,” Palma said. “What’s next? Same-sex marriage, abortion, etcetera?”

    “This is part of the plan of the people who want to destroy the family and life,” said Fr. Amadeo Alvero, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte province.

    “This is part of the culture of death,” he said, referring to divorce, euthanasia, abortion, population control and homosexual union.

    “What is happening? It would seem that some legislators are throwing the concept of God out the window,” said Msgr. Meliton Oso, director of the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center.

    Not on the radar

    Strategic Communication Secretary Ricky Carandang shrugged off talk of a divorce legislation. “That is not being discussed, it’s not on the radar,” he told reporters.

    Sen. Pia Cayetano said during a break in the bicameral discussions on the RH bill Wednesday she wanted to get the measure out of the way first before tackling the divorce issue. The main proponent of the RH bill in the Senate earlier said the divorce bill was “long overdue.”

    Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also indicated willingness to consider the proposal, as long as strict guidelines were enforced.

    Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who led the opposition to the RH bill in the House, said it would be “arrogant” of the government to introduce divorce legislation now. “Don’t push it. You might bring the country to the moral brink,” he said.

    “It’s a serious matter,” said Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. “Let’s not use political momentum but rather let’s be deliberate about it.”

    The Philippines, aside from the Vatican, has become the world’s only country without a divorce law after Malta legalized it last year.

    During a pre-Christmas lunch with reporters, Belmonte was asked about the divorce bill sponsored by the party-list group Gabriela pending at the committee level. He said it was unlikely to be passed at this time.

    “But it’s there at the back of our minds,” he said. “I want that to remain in the consciousness of congressmen so at some point, we can take it up again.”

    Reconciliation a ‘sham’

    Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said Belmonte’s remarks only showed that calls for unity and reconciliation following the passage of the RH bill were a sham.

    “I do not wish to sound ‘We told you so’ but that very statement itself reveals that RH is just the beginning of a series of antifamily and antilife legislation,” Castro said. “This government has revealed its true face. It has never been for the welfare of the family, women and children.”

    Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said prolifers had always expected that the passage of the RH bill would be followed by proposals for divorce, same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia “and all the rest of what we call death bills.”

    “We prolifers and pro-God people have always said that there would be a domino effect after the RH bill … The pro-RH promoters denied all the time the said consequences. Now, we see happening what they have denied,” Arguelles said.

    Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the chances of a divorce bill becoming law would depend on the composition of the next Congress.

    “We will see after the elections what the composition of Congress would be. Why would we lose sleep over it? It’s still just a threat,” Pabillo said.

    Voter education

    Dr. Ricardo Boncan, spokesperson of Catholic Vote Philippines, said the group was ready to “educate” lay Catholics so that they would know who they would vote for in 2013.

    “We are not surprised that they are now proposing divorce because we had expected them to come up with more antifamily legislation after the RH bill. They might even target the Constitution to remove the provision protecting life from the moment of conception,” Boncan said.

    “We are now ready for that. We are going to the grassroots so that, in this coming elections, we will change the composition of our legislature,” he said.

    “That’s a tall order but Catholic groups that were once uncommitted are now joining us after seeing (in the RH bill voting) what we are up against. There’s now a groundswell, especially in the provinces,” he added.

    Catholic Vote Philippines includes the biggest lay organizations in the country: El Shaddai, Knights of Columbus, Couples for Christ, Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, Dominican Network Institute of Teaching Lay Missionaries, Federation of National Youth Organizations, Youth Pinoy, National Youth Ministry, St. Thomas Moore Association, Educhild Philippines, Families Against RH Bill, Filipinos for Life, Doctors for Life, Alliance for the Family, ProLife Philippines and the Jericho Community.

    “I think it will be harder for divorce proponents because divorce is more specific than the RH bill. The RH bill was somewhat vague and they were able to make it appear that it would help the country’s economy,” Boncan said.

    “The divorce bill is different. It is specific and will hit the family. Even pro-RH lawmakers know that the hardest hit casualties of divorce would be our children,” he added.

    Boncan said the administration should instead tweak the country’s laws on legal separation and marital abuse.

    “We already have the necessary laws in place to take care of the issues they are using to push for a divorce law,” he added. With reports from Michael Lim Ubac, Norman Bordadora, Christian V. Esguerra, in Manila; and Joey Gabieta, Jani Arnaiz, Carla Gomez, Nestor Burgos, Veda Bongalos and Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas

  6. #6
    ^ It is not the concept of God that is being thrown out the window so much as the concept of an infallible and almighty Catholic Church. After centuries of the Church having its way, rightly or wrongly, especially in this country, this is a most welcome development.

  7. #7
    I'm pro-RH Bill but not so high on divorce. Naive as it may sound, I have to agree that this becomes an easy way out for marriages that were supposed to be thought of very carefully in the first place. And besides, with all our brilliant lawyers, "irreconcilable differences" can mean anything.

    Ano ba ang cost structure ng annulment? Because from what I can gather from divorce proponents is that annulment is very expensive and time consuming, hence the need for a divorce law. Maybe lowering the cost and time spent on the annulment process may be more appropriate.

  8. #8
    ^ But that still amounts to the same thing MrM, i.e. that the marriage bond is dissolved, as if the marriage never happened, so by whatever name we call it, it still amounts to a marriage being rescinded. As to cost, the last time my late father had an annulment case that stretched from early 1996 to the end of 1997, the spouse petitioning for annulment wound up paying a grand total of more or less P2 million is legal costs, exclusive of my father's professional fee. I can't recall the exact itemization of the costs but P2 million over a period of less than two years is steep. Even if you lower that to say P200,000 over the same period, no way the ordinary married couple looking to call it quits can afford that. At may nalalaman pang "no collusion" provision ang Family Code natin, na essentially pinagbabawal na magkunchaba ang magasawa para ma-annul na kasal nila. Kung kunwari magasawang pobre kayo na nakatira sa isang squatter colony, at araw-araw na kayong nagbubugbugan over a period of say a year, at hindi na talaga kayo magkakasundo, sa P200,000 na nga lang sure ako wala kayo, what more P2 million.

  9. #9

    By Conrado de Quiros

    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    11:38 pm | Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

    Smarting from losing the reproductive-health vote in Congress, the bishops and their anti-RH allies lashed at Sonny Belmonte last week for suggesting divorce was next in line. What actually happened was that the Speaker was asked in an interview if divorce was in the offing, and he answered that it would have to wait till the next Congress. But, he added, better if even now it was already being discussed, “mabuti na rin ’yung pinag-uusapan.” The anti-RH camp was pissed.

    “It will destroy the very sacred nature of marriage,” said Bishop Teodoro Bacani. “This is part of the plan of the people who want to destroy the family and life; this is part of the culture of death,” said Fr. Amadeo Alvero. “What is happening? It would seem that some legislators are throwing the concept of God out the window,” said Msgr. Meliton Oso. “I do not wish to sound ‘we told you so’ but [Belmonte’s] statement reveals that RH is just the beginning of a series of antifamily and antilife legislation,” said Fr. Melvin Castro. “We prolifers and pro-God people have always said that there would be a domino effect after the RH bill. Now, we see it happening,” said Bishop Ramon Arguelles.

    I did say the last time around that the RH victory augured well for religious reasonableness, as opposed to religious dogmatism, paving the way for such things as divorce. Something the local Catholic Church has opposed from way back when as though its life depended on it. Which it probably does. I was surprised when a few days later Belmonte was all over the news apparently for saying that was next.

    But of course change always has a domino effect. But contrary to what the bishops warn about, for the good and not for the bad.

    How sensible is their reaction to the current reality of RH and the future reality of divorce?

    Spain was the country that brought the Catholic faith to these shores, an iron-fisted one as imposed by the friars. But Spain has legalized divorce, doing so in 1981, six years after Generalissimo Francisco Franco died. Today, it has one of the highest rates of contraceptive use in the world, consequently having one of the lowest birth rates in the world.

    Italy is the one country synonymous with the papacy, notwithstanding that the Pope actually resides in the city-state of Vatican. To this day, Italians remain front-runners for the papal post. But the country has legalized divorce, too, doing so way back in 1974. Just as well, it is a bastion of contraception, and now has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, at 9.7 births per 1,000 Italians.

    In fact, until 2005 only the Philippines and Malta among full-fledged countries did not allow divorce. Which ended in May last year, when the Maltese voted in favor of it in a referendum. Now, only the Philippines among all the countries in the world outlaws divorce.

    So what are our bishops saying? Spain has destroyed the very sacred nature of marriage? Italy has joined the conspiracy to destroy the family and life, it has joined the campaign to unleash a culture of death? America, which is far more religiously fundamentalist, or fanatical, than the European countries, has thrown the concept of God out of the window? The whole world has gathered behind the effort to push antilife and anti-God legislation, and this is just the beginning? And we’re the only country left like Noah to save humanity from the impending flood?

    What are our bishops saying? Spain has scorned heaven, it has turned its back on the faith it caused untold suffering on the Indians and the indios to bring it to them? Italy has become a Sodom and Gomorrah, or not unlike one of Fellini’s movies, the Italians gamboling in shameless abandon or sybaritic kamunduhan? The whole world has embarked on a path to destroy life and laughter, God and creation? And we’re the only people—or since their views do not really reflect ours—left standing in the way of that plague?

    Of course the fact that everybody else is doing something doesn’t mean you should be doing it, too. Of course the fact that everybody else thinks the same way doesn’t mean you should be thinking that way, too. But it should give you pause to wonder at the merit, or reasonableness, or rightness, of your position. It should be a reason for self-examination, self-questioning, self-scrutiny. Especially where you are not just content to believe in it, it poses no harm to anybody, but are prescribing that belief for others, you want them to stand firm with you. More often than not, the reason you’re the only one who thinks the way you do is that you’re wrong.

    The bishops’ position on contraception and divorce is so.

    The harm in opposing RH is patent. It extols the beauty of unreal life, or nonexistent life, to foment very real life that is abandoned, scorned and left to fend for itself. The harm in the lack of divorce is no less patent. You see it not least in legal separation and annulment, which the Church accepts, which is not just a remedy available to the rich but which is premised on lying. Annulment entails the couple maligning each other and saying the most hurtful things to each other just to prove that their marriage never really took place, one or the other of the couple, or both of them, were absolute assho–s from the start. That is what psychological incapacity means.

    What, heaven prefers spitting to splitting, slandering to sundering, lying to divorcing?

    In the end, what all this merely shows is the extent to which our local Catholic Church has grown alienated from the rest of the world. What all this merely shows is the extent to which our local Catholic Church has been separated from its flock. What all this merely shows is the extent to which our Catholic Church has gotten, well:

    Divorced from reality.

  10. #10
    Divorce in the Philippines


    By Tony Katigbak (The Philippine Star) |

    Updated December 26, 2012 - 12:00am

    I am in favor of a divorce law in the Philippines.

    I know I may not see such a bill passed by our lawmakers in my lifetime, but I honestly see no reason why such a measure can not be voted on by Congress in the near future. After all, we are the only country other than the Vatican that does not have divorce. Even Spain and Italy and all the other Catholic countries around the world consider divorce a practical solution to a couple that can not live together their whole lives and find themselves miserable and “stuck”. In the past, we still had Malta that also did not practice divorce, but they have also recently decided it was time to face reality.

    I know it seems like such a drastic change for a country like ours. And immediately when people think of divorce they think of the drive-through marriage and quickie divorces that are the trademark of such countries like the United States. The fear becomes that people will not think things through before getting married because they know they have a way out, so to speak. However, this will not be the case, because a divorce can not be obtained simply because you have decided you no longer like your spouse. There will be regulations and strict reasons for divorce that will be decided upon by the courts, so it is not a quick and easy solution that many others worry about.

    It is important to at least consider this for our country. There are already close to 800 cases or so being applied for annulment or legal separation a month — most of these cases by women. We need to realize the important reasons why this is happening. A lot of it goes beyond no longer getting along. Sometimes it’s due to domestic violence, infidelity, and abandonement. Should these spouses be made to suffer for the rest of their lives when they find themselves in a situation like this? It certainly does not seem fair.

    Gabriela Party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan and fellow lawmaker Emmi de Jesus have filed a House bill introducing divorce, under strict conditions, in the Philippines and it is now with the House committee on revision of laws. They are waiting for the committee to schedule hearings to ask sponsors and resource persons to explain the pros and cons of the proposed legislation. It is very likely that this will be tackled by Congress in its third regular session in July. And even as the head of the lower House is supporting the proposal as early as now, Ilagan surmises that the Senate is also likely to support the bill citing the case of several senators who are currently or have undergone the annulment process.

    It will be a change for sure, but not for the worse. To give people the freedom to divorce their spouse will not make them cavalier about marriage. I think we have to give our people a little more credit than that. This will not be the further breaking down of our morals. Much like the RH bill, which I also consider necessary for our times, divorce will not make it easy to be “immoral”. It simply gives a couple an option when they have exhausted all means to make their relationship work and have found that it is just not possible.

    Of course, at the same time that certain lawmakers have already given their support to such a bill, we can be sure that there are others who will be vehemently against it. Again, like the RH bill circus, certain lawmakers will make a show of how this will not be for our best interest and will stand firmly with the Catholic Church spouting fire and brimstone. Who can forget the very lively and often utterly confusing dramatics of Senator Sotto during the RH bill voting session. If he thinks he has gained brownie points with the Church for his vigorous stand against the bill, he is severely mistaken. In fact, it is his actions against this bill that made people continue to talk about him. From contradictory points, not thoroughly researched speeches and even accusations of plagiarism, Sotto has certainly made a mark in his battle against the RH bill, and not in a good way.

    Which is not to say that he should stand for what he believes. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is another strong opposer to the RH bill said that the fight was not over even after the bill passed in the Senate. He claimed that several who were against the bill were in tears after the vote uncertain of the country’s future. I believe that is far too dramatic. While the RH bill is new and different for the country, I don’t believe it is the start of our moral degradation. It is an important tool in effective population control and a key factor in uplifting women’s health and saving the lives of many women who die everyday due to complications in childbirth from unsafe and unhealthy multiple pregnancies. One only need look at the multitudes of children wandering the streets without adequate food, clothing, and shelter to know it was the right choice. I believe that when truly cares for the living is the time they can call themselves pro-life. Besides, as stated many times over, the RH bill is not about abortion. It is about education.

    Indeed, these are important strides forward for our country. Who knows, divorce could be next.

    * * *

    I think that Philex Mining should be commended for taking further steps to rehabilitate bodies of water that were affected by the accidental spill from their tailings pond last August following historically unprecendented heavy rains brought about by typhoons.

    Despite the criticism received by the company from many in the environmental sector, the company is still doing its part to remedy the situation including spending at least P1 billion in their rehabilitation program ongoing until April of next year. The company has signed agreements on proposals by experts for the rehabilitation of Balog Creek and its convergence area with Agno River. The memorandum was signed with Carlos Primo David and proposals were drawn up to check sediment transport modeling, fate analysis of heavy metals, characterization of fisheries, and the estimation of economic loss and the environmental benefits of biological rehabilitation.

    This is just the next step in efforts made by Philex, with Manny Pangilinan at the helm, over the past few months to quickly and efficiently address the unfortunate accident. I think it is admirable that they would go to such lengths to see the situation amended. They are looking forward instead of dwelling on the past and focusing on the preservation of a clean environment and addressing the problems they faced earlier on in the year.

    I think the company’s quick action, their commitment and response to the situation, and their ongoing efforts have kept the fears of their supporters and stockholders at bay as their stock price has remained steady despite the losses incurred due to the accident. The company’s stock will, no doubt, remain high in the years to come.
    Last edited by Sam Miguel; 12-26-2012 at 09:24 AM. Reason: Data line

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