The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) expressed hope for the passage of a law adopting divorce in the Philippines.
A bill legalizing absolute divorce in the country is headed for the plenary of the House of Representatives after it was unanimously passed by the Committee on Population and Family Relations on Aug. 17.
“While the PCW recognized the sanctity of marriage as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, we also acknowledge the realities on the ground, with some women being trapped in abusive and dysfunctional marriages which are already beyond repair,” PCW Executive Director Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves said.
Chaves noted that by integrating divorce in the Family Code, “we can give these women a legal remedy to free themselves from abuse.”
Citing the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey results, PCW said that one in four married women has experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence by a current or most recent husband/partner.
“PCW shares the views of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go that the adoption of divorce in the Philippines is not meant to make divorce easily attainable in the Philippines,” Chaves said.
“By proposing the adoption of divorce, it is not envisioned that spouses are given the option o sever the marriage ties ‘just because.’ Divorce is proposed to be granted on specific grounds provided under the law and is meant to help spouses trapped in abusive marriages,” she added.
The Philippines is the only State in the world, apart from the Vatican, without a generally applicable divorce law.
At present, those who want to sever marriage ties have the option to file a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage, an annulment, or legal separation.
“Given the limited rigid grounds to dissolve the marriage that can be availed of, spouses are forced to remain together, which is detrimental not only to their well-being but also to those of their children. These actions can also be lengthy and expensive, which is a difficult burden to bear especially for women who do not have the financial resources to initiate legal action.”
PCW called on lawmakers to “consider divorce law and enable victims of domestic abuse, mostly women, to pursue healing and second chances in life.”