Here’s what’s in store for us Filipinos amidst the debates on the Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill) at the House of Representatives:
Introducing, House Bill 1799 a.k.a. Divorce Bill, as proposed by Gabriela Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana de Jesus. These are the provisions the bill seeks to insert:
Art. 55(B), Family Code of the Philippines
“(B) A PETITION FOR DIVORCE MAY BE FILED ON ANY OF THE
(1) 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;
(2) THE PETITIONER HAS BEEN LEGALLY SEPARATED FROM HIS OR HER SPOUSE FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS AT THE TIME OF THE FILING OF THE PETITION AND RECONCILIATION IS HIGHLY IMPROBABLE;
(3) WHEN ANY OF THE GROUNDS FOR LEGAL SEPARATION UNDERPARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS ARTICLE HAS CAUSED THE IRREPARABLE BREAKDOWN OF THE MARRIAGE;
(4) WHEN ONE OR BOTH SPOUSES ARE PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO COMPLY WITH THE ESSENTIAL MARITAL OBLIGATIONS;
(5) WHEN THE SPOUSES SUFFER FROM IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES THAT HAVE CAUSED THE IRREPARABLE BREAKDOWN OF THE MARRIAGE.”
These are the grounds that will embed divorce in our society and I would like to give emphasis on numbers one and five.
First, five years de facto (in fact) separation? For whatever reason? (I know, reconciliation is highly improbable, but who decides on that?) Enough said.
And second, what will qualify as an irreconcilable difference between the spouses? And who will decide whether or not that “irreconcilable difference” has caused “irreparable breakdown” in the marriage?
This particular provision is all-encompassing that any problem between the spouses can qualify as an irreconcilable difference. Any disagreement can cause an “irreparable breakdown” in a marriage. Any problem, no matter how shallow it may be, can be irreconcilable. It will all depend on the subjective point of view of the couple!
Is this what we want to legalize in our country? Is this how we protect the Filipino family?
Many people say that we should not force two people to be together when both of them do not love each other anymore. I would like to raise two points:
One, love should not be the only reason why people should stay married;
Two, this is marriage we are talking about, not just any other relationship.
What separates Marriage from a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship is the VOW that people undertake during their wedding. Regardless of how people marry (whether on a church or a judge’s chamber), or what religion they follow, everyone couple who gets married assume the responsibility to stick to each other no matter what and to work and help each other out.
What will become of the family that the couple may have built out of wedlock? Should the couple only think about what is best for their selves instead of thinking about what is best for the whole family?
I may sound optimistic or maybe even naïve but this is one thing that makes me proud as a Filipino—that WE value the sanctity of marriage more than any people or race in the world.
What pisses me off is that SOME people use the argument that we are the only country in the world that does not recognize divorce and that there is an “increase” in the applications for annulment in the Office of the Solicitor General (which is what, only 8,000 per year?!).
I mean, ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! Is that how shallow we are that because everybody else is doing it, we should too? And just because some couples are trying to annul their marriage we should give them the tools to dissolve their marriage?
I am willing to hear other people’s opinion regarding this issue but if this is the only thing you have, PLEASE you better just shut the hell up! OK?!
Legalizing divorce does not give people a choice, rather, this bill will give some people a GOAL that they should reach in order to satisfy their own agendas. An example would be the first ground regarding de facto separation for five years. Wait until five years, then you are good to go!
Instead of encouraging couples to work things out, it will only teach some people to focus on looking for problems in their marriages to get out of it.
Lastly, people keep on criticizing the courts on how long and how costly it takes for a petition for annulment to be approved. I believe the reason behind this is that the court takes time to give couples the opportunity to ponder on whether they want to separate or not and to test the applicants on how far they are willing to go just to get out of their marriages.
Well, annulment is another topic.
Nobody forces anybody into marriage (if that’s the case, what you have is a ground for Declaration of Nullity, not Divorce). Two individuals enter into this special “contract” with his/her own free will. Everybody is entitled to commit mistakes but two wrongs don’t make a right. Filipinos value marriage and I don’t see any reason why we should do away with it.
Note: I am NOT questioning other cultures about their views regarding marriage. I am speaking as a Filipino based on our culture and beliefs.