(SPOT.ph) News about the Philippines being one of the last countries, apart from Vatican City, to ban divorce made it to The New York Times last Friday, June 17, in an article titled "Philippines Stands All but Alone in Banning Divorce," which was written by Manila-based freelance journalist Carlos H. Conde.
The article outlined how the dormant issue of divorce in the country was reignited days after citizens of Malta voted to legalize divorce last month. "The global reality is that divorce has been recognized as a legitimate option for couples, particularly for women, who are trapped in unhappy, even violent unions," said Gabriela party-list Representative Luz Ilagan, who co-authored the bill, said.
Addressing issues that legalizing divorce promotes impulsive marriages, Ilagan clarified that her bill is "divorce, Filipino-style" because it requires applicants to have been legally separated for at least five years. "There won't be any Britney Spears marriages under our divorce law," said Ms. Ilagan, referring to the pop singer's marriage to her highschool sweetheart in 2004, which lasted less than three days.
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who is leading the Church is its fight against the bill, said "That (being the only country against divorce) is a distinction that we should all be very proud of... It says that we are not one of those who believe the family can be destroyed." The article, however, also quoted earlier reports mentioning that President Noynoy Aquino does not view the divorce bill as a priority and that he wants to preserve the "sanctity of marriage."
According to Conde's article, divorce is not an alien concept in the country, having been legal during the US and Japanese occupations. It was only prohibited with the enactment of the 1949 Civil Code.
For more on this story, log on to the New York Times.