Divorce bill hurdles House committee level

MANILA, Philippines – The House committee on population and family relations on Wednesday, February 21, approved a bill that would introduce divorce in the Philippines, the only nation in the world that does not offer it as an option to end a marriage. 

After almost two hours of deliberations during a executive session, members of the committee approved the yet to be numbered bill entitled “An Act Providing for Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines.” 

Lawmakers from different blocs in the House – the Duterte-allied supermajority, the minority, the Liberal Party (LP)-led opposition bloc, and the Makabayan bloc – met at the hall adjacent to no less than House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s office to make final revisions and compromises to the law.  

Alvarez, secretary general of the ruling PDP-Laban, noted the multipartisan nature of the measure. In a deeply divided and ostensibly pro-Duterte House, this sort of agreement over a measure happens rarely.  

Lawmakers have been pushing for a law that would make divorce in the Philippines a cheaper and faster alternative to annulment, which can cost upwards of P250,000 and can sometimes take years to finalize. 

Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman, who led the technical working group (TWG) that consolidated different versions of the law, had earlier expressed confidence that the measure would be much easier to enact then the controversial Reproductive Health Bill, which he also championed.

Lawmakers earlier visited countries with a high population of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), whose opinions they took into consideration in drafting the bill. (READ: House divorce bill proposes easier procedures for OFWs)– Rappler.com 

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.