Woman…Freedom…Divorce…Abortion? Part 1
Written by Claris Quezon
March 8, 2020
Angeles City, Pampanga
(I wrote this paper in 2008 as part of my social reform classes, a decade have passed and it’s still the same. So, for Women’s Month Celebration, I am making this as a public statement in support of my advocacy towards women who were violated and were not given a chance to make a choice for themselves. The president at the time of writing was`President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who served from January 20, 2001 to June 30, 2010)
Is it time for Abortion and Divorce in the Philippines?
Divorce… if not now, when?
I always believe that women should be given a choice, her own free will to decide which would be her most convenient and efficient way of life. Hard as it may be, the effects of abortion, divorce and double standard falls on the female gender’s shoulder. Others may see it as extreme belief, but, in reality we humans are created equal. We just created our own set of rules, traditions and laws to govern our own self-interests.
In the Philippines, while the women’s movement has gained much ground in bringing gender issues to public discussion and debate, there remain crucial issues on which genuine public consensus, even among women, has yet to be adequately explored or articulated. In place of democratic debate based on data and existing conditions, the Filipino public is bombarded instead with unyielding doctrine and alarmist scenarios. Little room is given for dissenting views or probing questions.
During the 90’s, Roman Catholic pushed for “anti-life and anti-family” legislations. These “sin bills” would have allowed for divorce, abortion under special conditions, the granting of certain rights to gays and lesbians, as well as a bill strengthening the formulation and implementation of a population and development policy. Lo and behold, come the 20th century Philippines RH bill was drafted, re-drafted and all was given to a set of regular citizen to enjoy. The unheard was still unheard and the right to choose was thrown out the window.
While divorce, reproductive rights, abortion, and homosexual rights lie at the very center of the struggle for women’s rights and have a significant impact on women’s lives, women’s groups in are putting up a fight to provide humane alternative to otherwise mundane norm. But these supposedly women groups fighting for women advance causes are terrified to be seen as anti-life or anti-family.
Our current society, though very tolerant, is still hypocritical towards the issue of sex education, abortion, divorce and virginity.
If marriage is costly, the act of dissolving one is strenuous on the health and finances of the one seeking it.
We are offered and being practiced here in our country legal separation, declaration of nullity and annulment. Which in my personal view is redundant and downright stupid? Why?
Legal separation allows you to separate, but your marriage still exists legally; hence re-marrying is out of the question. And you can file this and wait for it to be approved, since all your declarations have to be verified if you and your child are indeed physically abused, abandoned for at least a year, or if your current undesirable spouse is addicted to illegal substance, hence having destructive behaviors.
Declaration of nullity is a declaration that the marriage is void or has not legally existed at the first instance it was contracted. The reason being, you are either a minor who is not allowed to enter into a legal contract without your parents or guardians consent, or one party is still legally married, in which case you are a party to either concubinage or adultery, or one party cannot perform the requisites of marital bliss. At that instance, it states that the marriage is void or did not even legally exist in the first place. You are given so many options to choose as long as it can be proven.
In our legal system, it may take time.
Annulment is different from declaration of nullity because it recognizes that the marriage is valid until it is declared otherwise but was defective at the start. It is a means to cancel the marriage and restores your civil single status. Grounds are all similar which is indicative of a crazy society we live in.
So why divorce?
Divorce is a legal solution for a marriage that does not exist no matter how the other party perceives it to be. Remember contract can be rescinded if one party does not agree on it. Let’s not discuss marriage and religion at the same time. Divorce in my opinion is the best alternative over the three available options as it epitomizes the logical reasoning of why two parties are deciding to end their relationship.
Marriage, for me, is really a contract between two people who initially agreed to be in a relationship, so, if the other party wants to be “out” why make it such a hassle when we know for a fact that it is a very painful way to deal with.
In the present Philippine laws, two different codes define rules for marriage and divorce for non-Muslim and for Muslim Filipinos. Very sad indeed.
The Moslems in this country have and can practice divorce as long as the talaq is done or through khul (to return or renounce the dower to pay for her release).
If they have this why can’t we the non-Moslem have the same one. In pre-colonial Philippines it was practiced; the indigenous people practice this also. So, why the educated ones cannot have it? Simply put, because we have to meet the norm set by the society we belong to. And that is HYPOCRITICAL in nature based on laws created by the ‘MACHOS’ who are either all hardcore Christian of faith or the misogynist of the 20th century.
March 8, 2020 – RA6949 declares and recognized this day as National Womens’s Day. So where are we on “DIVORCE”?
As of February 5, 2020 the “divorce bill” House Bill (HB) no. 100 or the proposed Absolute Divorce Act authored by longtime advocate and Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman, was unanimously approved by the House committee on population and family relations. Does this mean you can already get divorced? Not yet, technical working group has to determine the grounds, legal impediment and solutions before this can pass. Let us wait if it will ever pass the Senate. But it did come a long wait. Hopefully, HUMANISM will take center stage the soonest possible time.
WE are WOMEN, we have the right to be strong or weak, we have the right to be wrong because WE are HUMAN.
HAPI Women’s Day !
End Part 1