It’s time to move forward into the modern era and away from medieval times. It’s time to give women more protection, empowerment and a better chance of having a happier and more fulfilling married life.
This could be achieved by legalizing divorce in the Philippines, which along with the Vatican City, is the only remaining country in the world where divorce is not provided for by law.
Let us not fool ourselves and turn a blind eye to the sad fact that many marriages in the Philippines are not successful and in most cases, the wives in this damaged marriages are still prisoners living in suffering, pain and sometimes in fear of their own lives.
Though Philippine society frowns upon broken marriages and husband and wives going their own separate ways, keeping them trapped in wedlock is not the solution. There must be a fair, authoritative and just mechanism in dealing with damaged marriages.
Such a mechanism is in the form of divorce that HB 1799 provides for. In the proposed bill’s explanatory note:
Not all circumstances and situations that cause the total breakdown of a marriage could be defined in this proposed measure. Thus, the bill also provides that divorce may be granted when the spouses suffer from irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage. Spouses living in a state of irreparable marital conflict or discord should be given the opportunity to present their marital contrarieties in court and have those differences adjudged as constituting a substantial ground to put an end to the marriage
If a marriage is in the rocks, the married couple or one of them could file for a petition for divorce which then gives them the opportunity to explain in court why they seek divorce. It gives the husband and especially the wife, equal opportunity to be heard and to speak without fear of retaliation from either side. Because in Philippine families, the wife is silenced by either her husband or her in-laws because marriage problems are tackled at home. And in that home, the wife is usually left with no one on her side. And even if the wife has raised valid concerns or reasons in support of her decision to leave her husband, it is overruled or ignored by the in-laws or elders whose advice often becomes the ruling on the matter. So the wife is left to sacrifice her dignity, her rights and freedoms, even her welfare as she remains trapped in an unhappy and broken marriage.
The abusive or erring husband goes on scot-free to repeat his misdeeds causing more suffering to the woman he swore to cherish and to hold, in sickness and in health, till death do they part.
So let’s give women the dignity, protection and empowerment they so deserve. Let us affirm that they too have an equal say about their marriage. If it can no longer be repaired, differences can no longer be reconciled, it is time to end the marriage.
Keeping the couple together locked in their irreparable marriage, would not only mean more suffering for them but for their children as well. The one roof that used to protect and shelter them would now become a prison of misery, suffering and harm both physically and psychologically.
With divorce, the aggrieved spouse now has a remedy to be free from the irreparable marriage. Be able to pursue a path of his or her choosing which will allow for healing and growth. Financial independence would be regained which will also offer the opportunity to focus earnings in raising or providing support for their children.
Divorce offers the opportunity to start a new life, be it by remarrying or remaining divorced. The rest of the world has given this opportunity to their citizens, let us join them in offering the same right, remedy and opportunity to our fellow Filipinos especially our women.