divorce in the Philippines

Support for legalizing divorce strongest in NCR, weakest in Mindanao – SWS survey


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Support for legalizing divorce strongest in NCR, weakest in Mindanao – SWS survey
The Social Weather Survey was conducted from March 21 to 25, covering the passage of the divorce bill at the House of Representatives

MANILA, Philippines – Support for the legalization of divorce in the Philippines is strongest in Metro Manila and weakest in Mindanao as of the first quarter of the year, according to the results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Saturday, June 1.

The SWS said in a statement that based on the results of the Social Weather Survey, these were the net agreement scores per geographical area during the survey period of March 21 to 25, covering the passage of the divorce bill at the House of Representatives.

  • Metro Manila: “Very strong” +40 (63% agree, 22% disagree, 14% undecided)
  • Balance Luzon: “Moderately strong” +20 (51% agree, 31% disagree, 15% undecided)
  • Visayas: “Moderately strong” +20 (48% agree, 28% disagree, 24% undecided)
  • Mindanao: “Neutral” +2 (42% agree, 40% disagree, 16% undecided)

A total of 1,500 adult respondents nationwide were asked whether they strongly agree, somewhat agree, undecided if agree or disagree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the test statement provided in Filipino: “Married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore should be allowed to divorce so that they can get legally married again.” 

The SWS said that when the test statement was first polled in May 2005, support for divorce was strongest in Balance Luzon and weakest in the Visayas. At the time, the net agreement score in Balance Luzon was at a moderately strong +11; Metro Manila, neutral +1; Mindanao, neutral -7, and Visayas, moderately weak -24.

SWS observed that net agreement on divorce was on a “downward trend” in Metro Manila “but stayed very strong from a record-high +49 in March 2023, to +44 in June 2023 and +40 in March 2024.”

The same goes for Balance Luzon and the Visayas. The SWS said that in Balance Luzon, the net agreement on divorce was at a moderately strong +28 in June 2023, and extremely strong +51 in March 2023. In the Visayas, the net agreement was at a moderately strong +20 in March 2024, which is slightly lower than the moderately strong scores of +21 in June 2023 and +27 in March 2023.

The SWS said public opinion on divorce has been on a “steady decline” in Mindanao, citing the “record-high very strong +41 in March 2023 to moderately strong +20 in June 2023,” to the neutral +2 in March 2024.”

50% of Filipinos support divorce

The survey found that 50% (28% strongly agree and 22% somewhat agree) of Filipino adults support the legalization of divorce for “irreconcilably separated couples,” while 31% disagreed (12% somewhat disagree and 20% strongly disagree, correctly rounded), and 17% were undecided.

The SWS said that the national net agreement score is a moderately strong +19, lower than the moderately strong +27 (55% agree, 27% disagree) in June 2023 and the record-high very strong +44 (65% agree, 21% disagree) in March 2023.

“Support for the legalization of divorce used to be split when SWS first surveyed it in May 2005: 43% agreed, 12% were undecided, and 45% disagreed, for a neutral -2. Net agreement rose to moderately strong +18 in May 2011 and very strong +31 in December 2014,” SWS said.

“It declined to moderately strong levels from March 2015 to December 2019 and neutral in September 2021 before rising to very strong +44 in March 2023. It declined to moderately strong levels in June 2023 and March 2024,” it added.

‘Very strong’ support among Filipinos with live-in partners

The survey also found that support for divorce is “very strong” among Filipinos with live-in partners.

“Net agreement with legalizing divorce was very strong among men and women with live-in partners (+40 and +39, respectively), compared to moderately strong levels among widowed/separated women (+23), men who have never married (+20), women who have never married (+18), widowed/separated men (+12), married women (+12), and married men (+10),” SWS said.

SWS said that in its first survey on divorce in May 2025, “net agreement with legalizing divorce was very strong among women with live-in partners (+48), and moderately strong among men with live-in partners (+23) and widowed/separated men (+19).”

“On the other hand, it was neutral among men and women who have never married (both at +9), widowed/separated women (net zero), and married men (-3), while it was moderately weak among married women (-10),” it added.

Of the 1,500 respondents in the SWS March survey, 600 were from Balance Luzon and 300 each in Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The sampling error margins are ±2.5% for national percentages, ±4.0% for Balance Luzon, and ±5.7% each for Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

“The area estimates were weighted by the Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2024 to obtain the national estimates. The survey items reported here were non-commissioned. They were done on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service,” SWS said.

Divorce continues to be a divisive issue in the Philippines, one of two remaining countries in the world without a divorce law, along with Vatican City.

Anti-divorce lawmakers in both houses of Congress have said that they would rather support measures that would make the annulment of marriages in the country cheaper and more accessible.

Must Read

Where do senators stand on divorce bill?

Where do senators stand on divorce bill?

The House first passed the divorce bill in 2018, under the 17th Congress, but it languished at the committee level in the Senate. It again passed the divorce bill in March but the future of the measure remains uncertain in the Senate. – Rappler.com


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