A survey by the SWS (Social Weather Station ) last 23 March revealed that 3 out of 5 adult Filipinos are in favor of a divorce law in the Philippines . Married couples in the Philippines who are legally separated and who cannot reconcile are currently barred from getting legally married with another partner due to the lack of a divorce law.
The survey was conducted through face to face interviews of 1,800 adults throughout the country from 27 November to 14 December 2014.
Support for the passage of a divorce law in the Philippines has increased since 2005 wherein only 4 out of ten Filipinos gave their approval.
In 2011, 5 out of ten Filipinos gave their nod while only 3 out 5 disagreed while the rest were undecided.
Majority of male and female respondents are in favor of the legalization of divorce whether they are single, married or with live-in partners.
Among the social classes, the survey shows that support for a divorce law in the Philippines is strong among classes D and E while it is moderate among those belonging to classes ABC.
The divorce law is expected to draw strong opposition from the Catholic Church which campaigned against the passage of the RH Law (Reproductive Health Law) in 2012.
With the backing of the Palace, the RH Law was ratified by the majority of the members of Congress which is dominated by the administration party.
The Philippines is the only country, apart from the Vatican, that has no law on divorce.
During the American Period, a law on absolute divorce was first introduced but following the country’s independence in 1946, lawmakers who were overwhelmingly Catholic, proposed to abolish the law. The adoption of a new Civil Code in June, 1949 expunged the law on absolute divorce which exempts only Moslems living in non-Christian provinces. Currently, in the absence of a divorce law, separated couples are left with only one option to get legally married with another partner- annulment of marriage which is not only costly but also involves a long legal procedure.
Divorce Law in the Philippines sits at the Congress
There is actually a house bill that has been lounging at the Congress for the divorce law in the Philippines. It is House Bill 4408, which was authored by Ilagan and fellow party-list representative Emmi de Jesus. Since its filing last May 2014 with House Committee on Population and Family Relations, no public hearing has been done yet to discuss this bill for divorce law in the Philippines.
Now recently, it was reported that the legalization of the divorce law in the Philippines will be tackled at the 16th Congress.
As for the SWS survey results affecting the congress votes, here is what House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. comments –