Filipinos weigh in on divorce debate

by Kris Danielle Suarez, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at May 31 2011 04:41 PM | Updated as of Jun 01 2011 02:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A referendum halfway across the world and the resurrection of a bill languishing in Congress for years suddenly brought the debate on divorce in the Philippines at the forefront once again, and Pinoys on the internet are buzzing with their opinion on the matter.

On Monday, Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan announced that the House of Representatives' Committee on Revision of Laws will take up House Bill 1799, or the proposed Divorce Bill of the Philippines, on Wednesday.

Ilagan’s bill is the first of 2 divorce measures pending before the 15th Congress. Ilagan filed her bill in July 2010, while Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez filed a similar bill just last March.

Ilagan's announcement came just hours after Malta overwhelmingly approved, in a referendum, a divorce law, leaving the Philippines the only country aside from the Vatican, without a divorce law.

The announcement immediately set off a barrage of comments on social networking sites, as well as on ABS-CBN News Online - and, like the similarly controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill, Pinoys seem to be divided on the matter.

Yes, no, maybe

Many netizens on Twitter said the reintroduction of divorce into the Philippine legal system is about time.

it's been a long time coming! i say YES. RT @ABSCBNNews Philippine Congress set to tackle divorce bill http://bit.ly/lasMhr #newsless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Why is the Philippines so afraid of changes? Change is good. Let's not be stuck, open your mind. YES to RH BILL and DIVORCE!less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

On Twitter, numerous people tweeted about divorce being the solution for people to be free from abusive and unhappy marriages.

@Karen_DaviLa smtimes prayers & fidelity just doesn't do it. Divorce is the answer to those hu r in an abussive relatnship.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

I have no need for divorce but I can imagine it will help those who have honestly given their all but are unhappy.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

On the abs-cbnNEWS.com page on Facebook, several netizens said the proposal is timely.

Doris Zontua agreed to legalizing divorce, saying, "Ang mag asawang hinde din naman nagkakasundo at madalas mag away mas maganda pang mag diborsiyo kesa sa nakikita ng kanilang anak ang araw araw nilang pag tutuos. Anong leksiyon ang matutunan ng bata sa kani kanilang magulang. Di ba sa bandang huli ang anak din nila ang mag su-suffer. Pero ang mga bata ngayong panahon na ito mas mautak pa kesa sa matatanda."

On Twitter, even some personalities joined the discussion.

@Karen_DaviLa I don't know that the country is ready, but it should be available. People trapped in abusive marriages need a way out.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Legal separation for property settlement w/o remarriage. Annulment for VOID & divorce for FAILED marriages. Iba-ibang solusyon.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

And surely, there were netizens who opposed the proposal.

@ABSCBNNews ayaw sa divorce pero may anullment naman, pareho lang naman pinaghihiwalay nun ang magasawa..hay, mga pinoy nga naman, katatangaless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@Karen_DaviLa - there will now be a "Wedding Industry" for planners and suppliers and a "Divorce Industry" for lawyers...less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@Karen_DaviLa hindi naman porket nahuhuli tayo sa ibang bansa dahil wala tayong divorce ibig sabihin nun kaylangan nating iimplement yun.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

May Legal Separation na. May Annulment na. Ano to pag dedebatihan naman ang Divorce. Hay Ano ba yan....less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Some of those opposed to the proposal said divorce will only lead to couples not trying enough to solve their problems.

Like @MsTeresa5 I am anti-divorce. Couples tend to stop trying when divorce is an option. #hopelessromanticless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@risahontiveros last po, diba po pag may divorce, baka po people will not try harder to make their marriage work kasi there is a way out?less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Divorce is not a window for trial and error for worst case scenario!! Worst case!!less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

On the other hand, user "Bongards," on abs-cbnNEWS.com, said the divorce law will only be used by unscrupulous lawyers wanting to get rich quick.

"Lawyers and Judges are making thousands if not millions out of it, just simply play around, complainant wait for years and mostly end up nothing," the commenter said.

Commenter "pro-philippines", meanwhile, said that marriage is a "lifetime decision."

"Dapat bago magpakasal siguraduhin mo na sya talaga ang mahal mo at sakanya mo ibibgay ang buong buhay mo," the commenter said.

The involvement of the Church in the divorce debate was also a topic that cropped up online.

@Karen_DaviLa I'm pro Divorce and RH Bill but how will it happen if we can't separate church from state?less than a minute ago via ?????/twipple Favorite Retweet Reply

@Karen_DaviLa our country will be ready for anything when the Church is ready to separate itself from the State.less than a minute ago via UberSocial Favorite Retweet Reply

abs-cbnNEWS.com commenter "Sheepish" said the bill won't pass because "the Catholic Church won't allow it."

"RH Bill pa lang puro kontra na, Divorce pa? Lumang tugtugin na yan. Progress will only happen once religions (not only the Catholic) stop meddling with government affairs," the commenter said.

On TV Patrol's text poll on Monday, 58% of respondents voted "Yes" to legalization of divorce, while 42% said "No."

Meanwhile, some cautioned fellow Filipinos to read the proposed bill before reacting.

I want to read the so-called Divorce Bill first before reacting. Our antiquated annulment laws leave much to be desired.less than a minute ago via UberSocial Favorite Retweet Reply

@Karen_DaviLa there r advantages & disadvantages of divorce. its something that should be thought of and studied carefully #divorceless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Others, like Twitter use vingutierrez, suggested that other bills should be tackled first.

Let's finish RH first before that bill. RT @ABSCBNNews: Belmonte backs divorce bill, but... http://bit.ly/mz3ANe #newsless than a minute ago via UberSocial Favorite Retweet Reply

Another commenter on abs-cbnNEWS.com, "Psylom," suggested that instead of divorce, marriage laws should be made stricter.

'Instead of a Divorce Law, maybe mas magandang higpitan ang pagpapakasal... to make sure na lahat ng magpapakasal ay sigurado at handa sa papasukin nila," the commenter said.

One even tweeted to suggest a referendum to see the real sentiment of the people on the issue.

@Karen_DaviLa bakit kasi puro usap lang. hindi gumawa ng referendum like Malta and let's see kung ano tunay na gusto ng nakararami?less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply