Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday renewed her call to pass Senate Bill 147 or the Dissolution of Marriage Act.
The senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, stressed that women who are victim-survivors of domestic abuse need this legal recourse.
“Some Filipino women have almost been killed by their own husbands. But most of them cannot leave their marriages because of the prohibitive costs of filing for an annulment. Bigyan na natin ang ating mga kababaihan ng pagkakataong makalaya sa masalimuot at abusadong pagsasama. Bigyan natin sila ng oportunidad na mahalin at magmahal muli. Ipasa na ang Divorce Bill,” said Hontiveros, author of the measure.
According to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey by the Philippines Statistics Authority, one in four married women aged 15 to 49 years old has experienced spousal violence, whether physical, sexual, or emotional. Surveys also report that most of those who agree to instituting divorce are women.
“When a marriage becomes irreparable, it is incumbent upon the State to not only provide relief to spouses, but also protect children from the pain, anxiety, and trauma of witnessing regular marital clashes. Let us give Filipino families the chance to let go of toxic relationships,” Hontiveros said.
In 2017, the Social Weather Station ran a survey, revealing that 53% agreed to legalize divorce. Another survey, run by the Catholic Radio Veritas in 2018, showed that 52% “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” to the measure.
Hontiveros added that the Senate needs to pick up speed, as the House of Representatives has approved, in principle, bills that provide for the dissolution of marriage.
“Our counterparts in the House have already been making the moves to help our country catch up with the rest of the world. The Senate must do the same. Past surveys have demonstrated that the majority of Filipinos favor divorce to be instituted in the country. We better listen to our people,” Hontiveros said.
“We are the only country, aside from the Vatican, that doesn’t have divorce. As a secular state, this is not something to be proud of. This only shows how left behind we are in addressing the needs and recognizing the lived experiences of our people. 2023 na, wala pa ring divorce. It’s time to change this,” Hontiveros concluded.