July 2, 2024 (2:14 PM)

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RECONCILING DIFFERENCES. Divorce Bill: When All is Over, and Done forum was led by Luzviminda C. Ilagan, the former Gabriela Party-list representative, and Rev. Fr. Juan Macalisang STL, PhD, Held last June 28, at the Training Room, CCFC Building, Ateneo de Davao University. Photo by Edrian Louis Nabos

In a round-table discussion, pro and anti-divorce speakers addressed the intricacies of the proposed legislation and expressed diverging views on its effects on Filipino marriages and family values.

On the pro-divorce side, Former Gabriela Party List representative Luzviminda C. Ilagan conveyed the importance of passing the divorce bill, adding possible options of separations for failed marriages. 

“It’s an alternative mode of dissolving an irreparably broken or dysfunctional marriage… it saves children from the pain and stress of their parent’s marital status… then grant the spouses the right on marrying again and have another chance at happiness,” Ilagan said.

Furthermore, she stated that even if the bill passes, the integrity of marriage will be preserved and respected through reconciliation efforts. 

“Serious baya ang kaminyuon. . . ni pirma kita ug kontrata, ni undergo ug ceremonias, ug ni ingon kita ug until death do us apart. . .  dili pwede na ihatag dayun ang divorce na walay effort to reconcile.”

On the anti-divorce side, Rev. Fr. Juan Macalisang STL, PhD, stated that the option for absolute divorce would ruin the traditional Christian family values Filipinos have and would diminish the inherent value and meaning of marriage. 

“Option for absolute divorce even destroys seriousness in marital commitments, seriousness marital responsibilities, [and] it weakens and corrodes the real meaning of marriage,” he stated. 

Additionally, he emphasized the importance of reconciliation as the primary option, and a hasty divorce will only create more harm than good, not just for the spouses themselves but also for the children.

“The most prudent thing to do is to maximize the use of existing legal measures and to enhance its complete effectivity rather than offering an option for absolute divorce, which is potentially destructive than a problematic marriage itself.”

Despite differences in beliefs, both sides remain open to peaceful dialogue and respect opposing viewpoints. 

“The reason that we are here is to open our minds. It’s not good to be limiting ourselves to only our side. We should also listen and also respect the decision of the church,” Ilagan stated. 

“There is constructive dialogue despite indifferences of opinion. . . it’s a part of channeling information and balanced information,” Macalisang added. 

Just last May, the House of Representatives approved the final reading of House Bill 9349, or Absolute Divorce Bill, authored by Rep. Edcel Lagman, with 131 voting for its passing and 109 against it, which would continue to be discussed on its third reading passage. 

The Divorce Bill: When All is Over and Done forum was held at the Training Room, CCFC Building, Ateneo de Davao University, last June 28. 



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