MANILA — The national alliance of women’s organizations, Gabriela, expresses its strong support to House Bill 1799 (An Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines) filed by Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmie de Jesus in the lower house.
Gabriela notes that the house bill would provide, especially women, the option to a way out of a marriage that is beyond salvage and already detrimental to their beings.
“For all parties concerned, nothing good could emanate from a marriage where there is no longer respect, love and affection between spouses. Most often, where marriage has taken the turn for the worse, it is the woman who suffers the brunt of it,” said Obeth Montes, health and services director of Gabriela.
“We cite as an example the experience of Gabriela in extending services to women who are victims of violence and other forms of abuses. Between January and May2010, out of the 294 cases of violence against women (VAW) we have received, 204 were domestic violence.Aside from emotional abandonment, many of these women gripe over financial neglect as they are left on their own to eke out a living for the whole family,” Montes related.
“Wife battery is a reality we cannot turn a blind eye to. When a woman is beaten by her husband, she must have the freedom to take her exit out of the marriage; but women at the present do not have this option because existing laws on legal separation and annulment fail miserably to address this reality,” continued Montes.
In reality, many of these women would want out of these miserable marriages but find no support in the existing laws. Thus, they find themselves suffering in silence putting up with the abuses.
Gabriela opines that culturally and traditionally, the burden of making the marriage works and keeping it intact lie on women. Women are prescribed by society to sacrifice themselves just so to save the marriage. “But we would like to remind the state that it is its policy to ensure the fundamental equality, before the law, of women and men; and where a woman is confined to a marriage where she only knows suffering, there is definitely nothing of that equality,” Montes expounded.
Further, the militant women’s group holds that passage of a law that allows divorce is long overdue and necessary in a society where women remain marginalized and prone to many forms of domestic violence and abuses. # Gabriela news release