Group Pushes Family Code Amendment

MANILA, Philippines --- The Gabriela party-list group is ready to re-file the Filipino-style divorce bill that seeks to liberate couples in troubled marriages.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan, who filed House Bill 1799, along with fellow Gabriela Rep. Emerenciana De Jesus, is not giving up yet on pushing for the passage of the "pro-poor and pro-women" measure.

"If we come up victorious again this coming May elections, we will re-file the measure next Congress," she said in a statement.

She also appealed to Malacañang to first read the provisions of the measure seeking to amend the Family Code before thumbing it down.

"As for Malacañang ... before they jump into conclusion, they should read it first so that they can see the pro-low income and pro-women provision," Ilagan said.

The Executive has declared that the measure is not on its radar screen.

Ilagan cited the need to pass the bill, lamenting that many women have been suffering from troubled and failed marriages.

"Cases of battered women also support this. Battered women invariably seek separation only after many years of trying to make the marriage work. Separation only becomes imperative for them when they realize that it is necessary for them and their children's survival. Divorce could actually provide protection to battered women and their children from further violence and abuse," she said.

She also noted that HB 1799 recognizes the plurality of religious beliefs and cultural sensibilities in the Philippines as it retains the existing remedies of legal separation, declaration of nullity of the marriage and annulment, and only adds divorce as one more remedy.

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