House of Representatives

House approves divorce bill on 2nd reading

Bea Cupin

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House approves divorce bill on 2nd reading
This is the farthest a divorce law proposal has gone in the legislative process

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 14, approved on 2nd reading a measure that would introduce divorce in the Philippines.

Why this matters: This is the farthest a divorce law proposal has gone in the legislative process. Last February 21, it was approved at the committee level. The bill is supported by key House personalities from its many different blocs. No less than House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has been pushing for the measure, which he describes as the “dissolution of marriage.” The bill’s proponents have expressed optimism that it would be approved by the House and eventually, the Senate. More than half of Filipinos, according to a recent survey, are in favor of legalizing divorce. It’s huge since the Philippines is the only country aside from the Vatican that does not allow divorce. Filipino couples who want to end their marriage can only opt for annulment – a messy, lengthy, and expensive process. Proponents of the divorce bill have promised a process that would be cheaper and more efficient than annulment. A setback for proponents: There is no counterpart measure in the Senate. For a law to be passed, both chambers of Congress must pass their own versions. The two versions, should they have differences, will then be reconciled during a bicameral conference. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.