PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has stated his stance on divorce.
According to his spokesperson, Harry Roque Jr., the president said: “...kawawa po yung mga anak, at kung magkakaroon ng divorce, mawawalan po ng karapatang magsampa ng kaso ‘yung mga asawa na pinabyaan ng mga asawa nila matapos silang mag-divorce.”
This is just one of the many issues regarding the divorce bill, which was already passed in Congress on its third and final reading on Monday.
As much as the bill is important, there is also other issue that needs to be attended to with urgency: the programs to strengthen the Filipino family.
Our Constitution is strongly supporting the family values as stated in Article 15, Section 1: The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development.
Section 3, moreover, states that: The State shall defend the right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.
But seldom do we hear of programs by our government that strengthen the basic foundation of our community.
In barangay level for example, it can be counted through our fingers how many barangay officials initiate or enact programs that strengthen the solidarity and promote the family's total development.
We more often think that it's the church's duty when talking about the "sanctity" of a family; often forgetting that a broken family almost always brings into wayward children. Children who are always in conflict with the law. Children who become a liability to the government and the society.
Thus, it is also but urgent to initiate moves to strengthen the family as what the president has said, "kawawa ang mga anak" as it's always been the children who will be mostly affected.
In Davao City, meanwhile, a father set her three-year-old daughter on fire last Sunday because he was angry that his wife separated with him. If we provide community support on strengthening the family and its core to prevent separation rather than tearing the family apart, maybe we could avoid violence such as this.