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The only country where divorce is illegal! Can the Philippines get out of the dilemma of resentment?

Date: 2023-11-10 PageView: 10439

The Philippines is the only country in the world where divorce is still illegal except for the Vatican, the seat of the Holy See. Divorce requires a special application to the court. After complicated, lengthy and expensive legal procedures, there is no guarantee of success.


Patients cannot be deprived of the right to take medicine.

When divorce becomes a human right to fight

The New York Times reports that nearly 80 percent of the population of the Philippines is Catholic, and the Catholic Church considers pro-divorce activism an "irrational initiative"; conservative lawmakers are also staunchly opposed to legalizing divorce.

Although in 1977, the then president of the Philippines, Ferdinand E. Marcos, signed a bill allowing divorce, it was limited to only 5% of the total population.

These voices of opposition have further encouraged those who advocate the legalization of divorce to regard divorce as a basic human right. Social activist Nepo Museno (Mary Nepomuceno) said: "What we want to say is that this is like medicine. You only need to take medicine when you are sick, but you can't deprive those who are sick of the right to take medicine. 」


The shackles of marriage are difficult to solve, abused and still unable to divorce?

Millions of Filipino women who have been abused in their marriages are unable to escape their sources of trauma because of the difficulty of divorce. Ms. Guevara (Janet Guevarra), 36, spent $5200 to dissolve the marriage, which is 15 times her monthly salary. However, last year (2022), the court rejected the petition she filed 3 years ago.

The judge ruled that "Guevara's allegation that her husband grabbed her by the collar, pushed her and tried to beat her during a heated argument is not sufficient to prove that she was physically or verbally abused. 」 The judge added that marriage, as a social system protected by the state and inviolable, cannot be dissolved by the "whim" of the parties.

The founder of the Filipino Divorce Alliance (AJ Alfafara), who separated from her husband in 2012, confessed that she had not seen her son in more than a decade since he chose to live with his father when he was 9 years old. When she wanted to buy a house, she was even told that she had to get her husband's signature. Divorce is illegal, allowing abusive husbands to retain joint custody of their children and the right to share the wife's assets.


Half of the people support the prospect of legalizing divorce?

Perhaps due to the increase in the number of people willing to divorce and the increasing plight of women in abuse, the attitude of the Filipino people has changed. The survey shows that half of the citizens now support divorce, and the Philippines is the closest to legalizing divorce in history.

Many social activists in the Philippines have been actively promoting the legalization of divorce for many years. In recent months, the Senate has finally approved a divorce bill for the first time in more than 30 years, and it is expected to have a second reading next (2024) year.

The author of the bill, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, said she was deeply moved by her meeting with campaigners to legalize divorce. "One of their most striking themes is that divorce is a second chance-a second chance in life, a second chance in love, a second chance in happiness? 」
A bill passed by the Senate needs to be approved by the House of Representatives before it can be submitted to the President for signature and entry into the law. The current president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., is open to legalizing divorce, though he also warns that "it shouldn't be easy 」.



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