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Senator Risa Hontiveros Refiles The Absolute Divorce Bill

Divorce is currently illegal in the Philippines.

On July 10, Senator Risa Hontiveros refiled the absolute divorce bill that would allow divorce in the Philippines.

In a Twitter photo shared by Inquirer that shows the senator’s explanatory note, Sen. Risa noted that the Philippines and the Vatican are the only countries in the world where divorce is still illegal.

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“The number and proportion of Filipinos who are separated [have] been increasing over time—demonstrating that the denial of legal remedies to those seeking to dissolve their union has largely been an ineffective way of upholding the policy of the State to keep families together,” the note reads.

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The document also stated, “the absence of a divorce law has had disproportionate effects on women who are more often the victims of abuse within marriages, and who are forced to remain in joyless and unhealthy unions because of the dearth of legal options.”

At present, the Philippines has three options for separation—legal separation, annulment, and the nullity of marriage. These procedures often take at least two years and annulling a marriage can be quite expensive and traumatic.

The push for filing of the absolute divorce bill has the well-being of women in mind. Sen. Risa said, “Karapatan nating lahat na magmahal, mahalin at maging masaya kapiling ang mga mahal natin sa buhay. Anuman ang katayuan natin sa lipunan, karapatan nating lahat na lumigaya.”

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The senator continued, “They, together with their children, deserve not only a second chance but all the chances available in this world to find true and meaningful relationships and build nurturing families.”

The senator also reiterated that the measure is for all. “I want to stress the importance of protecting women from being trapped in abusive relationships and the need to provide a legal mechanism for that protection,” she said.

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