Senator Hontiveros refiles divorce bill

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Senator Risa Hontiveros is once again pushing to legalize divorce in the country. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 10) — Senator Risa Hontiveros is once again pushing to legalize divorce in the country.

Hontiveros said Wednesday she refiled the Divorce Act of 2019 to free victims in abusive relationships, especially women who have suffered domestic abuse. The bill allows “psychological incapacity of either house, irreconcilable marital differences, marital rape or being separated for at least 5 years,” to become grounds for divorce.

“They (women), 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,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

She cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), saying that in 2018, one in four women experience spousal violence.

“It is our duty to protect the well-being and quality of life of our people, especially our women,” Hontiveros said.

The senator relayed that she is confident the bill will be passed this time around, despite Congress snubbing the measure previously. Hontiveros said she is optimistic after hearing Senate President Tito Sotto was open to hearing the bill.

Masaya ako at may kabukasan na si SP Tito Sotto sa panukalang batas na ito [I am glad that SP Tito Sotto is open to this proposed measure] so I look forward to the meaningful debates and the passage of the bill,” Hontiveros said.

Sotto said in an interview last week that it was “about time" the Senate discusses divorce in the Philippines.

Hontiveros said the bill was not approved during the previous Congress due to the number of proposed measures that were prioritized over it.

President Rodrigo Duterte in April 2018 has maintained his opposition towards divorce. The Philippines is the only country apart from the Vatican where divorce is not legal.