Pia Cayetano to push for divorce bill again when she returns to the Senate

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 21) — Taguig 2nd District Rep. Pia Cayetano said she would again push for a bill legalizing divorce in the country when she returns to the Senate.

“I will refile the bill … Stina-strategize ko [I am strategizing] how to go about it,” Cayetano told CNN Philippines on Tuesday.

Cayetano is among the authors of a House bill that passed last year which seeks to legalize absolute divorce in the Philippines, the only country left aside from Vatican City where divorce is not an option.

No absolute divorce bill was filed in the Senate until December 2018 — nine months after the House passed the measure. It has remained in the Senate Women committee since its filing.

Cayetano, who ranks fourth in the partial and official Senate race results, acknowledged that there is resistance to divorce being legalized in the Philippines, were majority of its citizens adhere to Catholicism, which frowns upon divorce.

READ: CBCP: Divorce bill 'anti-marriage and anti-family'

“But those are challenges that I'm willing to face because to make change, you have to be willing to fight for the changes you believe in,” she said.

She added, “This is life-saving for them. Like literally will save their life because they’re in marriages where they are beaten up emotionally, physically and I’ve heard the stories. So I ask my colleagues, just listen to the stories so that you’ll see why I find that it is the right thing to do to pursue legislation for divorce.”

A 2017 Social Weather Stations survey found that 53 percent of Filipinos believe that divorce for spouses who are “irreconcilably separated” should be legalized.

President Rodrigo Duterte has aired his opposition to divorce, saying that children will suffer. He later cited the opposition of his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, to the measure as the reason for his stance.

Dutere's marriage to his first wife, with whom he has three children, has been annulled. He and his partner, Honeylet Avanceña, have a teenage daughter.