Pia pushes talks on divorce as support for it grows

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2015 05:04 PM | Updated as of Mar 25 2015 01:04 AM

MANILA - With a survey showing 6 out of 10 Filipinos in favor of divorce, Senator Pia Cayetano sees the need for Congress to begin discussions on the matter.

While no bill legalizing divorce has yet been filed in the Senate, Cayetano said she can include it in proposed amendments to the Family Code.

She said the unavailability of divorce can be considered a discriminatory practice against women.

"We consider that a discriminatory practice because many women are forced to stay in a marriage that is harmful to them, either physically or emotionally," Cayetano told reporters, adding that the measure would also benefit men.

Cayetano said the results of a new survey clearly show the people want divorce to be available in the country.

"The question is: Are the congressmen and women ready to have the debate and to make a decision on it?" she said. "Your chairperson is ready to present a bill in any form to initiate the debates. But is Congress ready for it?"

A predominantly Catholic nation, the Philippines is one of only two countries in the world that prohibit divorce. For Cayetano, who sponsored the reproductive health law in the Senate amid strong Church opposition, this is not something to be proud of.

"What does it mean? That we are self-suffering? That we allow women, or men for that matter, to stay in horrible relationships and possibly not even be good parents to their children simply because our law does not recognize that they should live separate lives?" she said.