Manila, Philippines – A bill instituting divorce in the Philippines has been approved by a House of Representatives panel while a technical working group (TWG) has been formed to consolidate other proposals and contributions from resource people.
At the House Population and Family Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday, the panel approved Bill No.100 or the Absolute Divorce Bill of 2019, drafted by the representative of the 5th District of ‘Albay, Edcel Lagman.
Lagman proposed to approve the bill, with no one opposing the motion. Chairman of the committee and Guimaras Rep. Ma. Lucille Nava approved the motion, before appointing Lagman to lead the TWG.
The TWG is tasked with combining the HB 100 with other divorce bills drafted by Gabriela’s representative, Arlene Brosas, and Davao del Norte’s 1st district representative, Pantaleon Alvarez.
âItong (Ce) technical working group, I will most likely convene it by next week, depending on member availability, or [the] week after the next. But certainly in February it will already be approved, with a corresponding commission report, âLagman said in an after-hearing interview.
âThe members are Representative Arlene Brosas, Representative (Juliet Marie) Ferrer and Representative (Ma. Victoria) Umali. We will meet as soon as possible, âhe added.
Several resource persons – for and against divorce – attended the discussions and expressed their views on the matter. Some of the proposals have focused on changing the name of the divorce to respect denominational Filipinos, possibly simply changing the existing annulment provisions.
Supportive family groups have also opposed the divorce, saying the Philippines is the only country in the world that does not have divorce laws. – outside of the Vatican city-state, which is the center of Catholicism, there is nothing to be ashamed of.
âWe respectfully appeal to [kind] consideration of the authors, if we can avoid using the word “divorce”, so that it is not so difficult to accept by the confessional people who want to give the Lord the greatest and the greatest respect, “said l lawyer Lyndon CaÃ±a in the hearing.
âThe word divorce is a Western word, it is a very stigmatized word, therefore full of package. Divorce is more famous for the new problems it created than for the old problems it solved, âhe added.
Lagman, however, noted that even Catholicism is a foreign ideology, adding that even predominantly Catholic countries have also passed divorce laws.
He also pointed out that divorce is not an entirely new idea in the Philippines, as Filipinos before the Spanish occupation were lenient with divorce.
âCatholicism is also a foreign concept and we adopted it in the Philippines. Now we will have to reconsider the suggestion that we should call this bill a reinstatement of divorce, because really, we had divorce policies and practices even before the Spanish era, âLagman explained.
“Divorce is therefore not a concept foreign to the Filipinos, history would show that before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Filipinos had already adopted divorce practices, and the grounds were even more lenient than this bill” , he also said.
Government officials and politicians have been divided over the need for divorce in the country. Senator Risa Hontiveros lobbied for the measure in the Senate, but his colleague Senator Joel Villanueva – son of evangelical leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva – said he would definitely oppose it.
READ: Villanueva on the Divorce Bill: “On my corpse”
âWe look forward to further deliberation. In fact, gusto po talaga names ma-discuss mabuti, even a floor, in any place, âBrosas said.
“We will also be looking during the technical working group at some of the input from the resource persons, as there were some contributions that we could most likely include in the bill,” Lagman added.
Published by KGA
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