Not ready for divorce

By George Evan Cuadrillero
Not ready for divorce
SunStar Tell it

In recent news, the Philippine House of Representatives approved a bill legalizing divorce in the country, marking a significant moment for proponents of the law. A recent survey conducted by Octa revealed that only four out of 10 Filipinos support divorce, indicating a significantly conservative stance.

Historically, the Philippines is one of the few countries where divorce remains illegal, alongside the Vatican. Interestingly, early Filipinos accepted divorce, as seen during the Spanish era under the codified “Siete Partidas,” the American era with Act 2710 and the Japanese era through Executive Order (EO) 141. However, after Japanese rule, EO 141 was repealed, reverting to Act 2710. The law remained applicable until the Civil Code was enacted in 1950, replacing divorce with legal separation. Later, President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. codified Muslim Personal Laws, recognizing divorce among Muslim marriages, but the institution of divorce for the general population was ultimately abolished. Many presidents have advocated for divorce since then, but their efforts have failed.

So why hasn’t the country pushed for divorce? Sociologically, the Filipino concept of “family” is deeply rooted. The strong influence of Christianity has shaped the majority of Filipinos’ values, blending faith with civility and creating a unique cultural fabric. Additionally, Filipinos tend to be conservative, often preferring to keep personal struggles private.

Are we ready for divorce now? In my opinion, not yet. Despite the passage of time, we still struggle with this issue. It could be due to faith or other deeply ingrained values. While history shows we once accepted divorce, the present sees us shying away. With today’s internet, everyone is connected, and the messages of conservatives and liberals are widespread on social networking sites. This topic requires thorough discussion and dialogue to reach a consensus. Effective communication can lead to better understanding and progress.

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