WHAT would be more fitting and relevant to the current situation of the Filipino women than this move from the GABRIELA party-list to put forward the re-filing of the legalization of divorce? It does not only address the issue of domestic violence which, until now, is still largely considered by many in our society as a family matter or marital issue that only the couples can resolve, that police authorities are reluctant to intervene. It will also push the agenda of women for the recognition of their human rights as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, but which are largely ignored by lawmakers.

Unless women really work for their concerns in government legislative bodies, these will only be covered and overrun by patriarchal interests which still dominate the Philippine society up to this time and for the longest time. So even if we say that we are confident that the interests of the ordinary citizen will be finally addressed with President P-Noy at the helm, are not really that sure?

At this early, the President is showing evidences of bulking down from his initial pronouncements on a lot of issues. Understandably so, we cannot of course expect to see results as yet, but there is a need to be vigilant, especially when it comes to issues that affects us, and which would in time might be used against the very ideals that we stand for.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

The women representatives of party list GABRIELA, which was overwhelmingly endorsed by the Filipino women during the last electoral exercises are acting on the mandate given it by the electorate, and correctly so. Renamed as House Bill No. 1799, an Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines, the re-filed bill has the following grounds for the filing of a petition for divorce (Ending Domestic Violence, Phil. Daily Inquirer, August 12/2010):

1. Petitioner has been separated de facto (in fact) from his or her spouse for at least five years at the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable;

2. Petitioner has been legally separated from his or her spouse for at least two years at the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable;

3. When the spouses supper fro irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage;

4. When one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations;

5. Any of the grounds for legal separation that has caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.

It is expected, as usual, that the conservative sectors in Philippine society will shoot down the bill, using the sanctity of marriage as the prime reason for the opposition to the bill. If these so-called moral authorities will only look closely into the real situation of women in failed marriages and make them speak about their miserable lives in the hands of their abusive spouses, they might still be enlightened.

Some women's situation has become so despicable that the women victims chose martyrdom, but sometimes not of their own free will, but for the sake of the children. But even the children have become objects of cruelty in abusive relationships. There have been so many stories about this issue, and yet, sadly, this does not seem to merit the attention of lawmakers.

Indeed it has been proven time and again that the family is the basic core of a functional society. It is the source of good citizens who will compose the future leaders of this country, but with unstable family situations in the home, can we expect to have future leaders who are imbued with good values that are naturally provided by strong family ties? If one of the spouses have become dysfunctional and ineffective in any given situation, and is in fact a threat to the stability of this most basic institution in society, might as well sit down and talk about it like normal human beings do.

This is what House Bill 1799 proposes, nothing less, nothing more.