Press Release
September 17, 2019

Divorce Bill Hearing
Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality
September 17, 2019

Magandang umaga po sa ating lahat. Ngayong araw ay isang makasaysayang araw para sa ating lahat. Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon, ang Senado ay magsasagawa ng isang hearing upang pag-usapan ang panukala na isabatas ang isang divorce law sa ating bansa.

Lahat tayong nandito ngayon ay mga kalahok at testigo sa paglikha ng kasaysayan. This is history in the making. We are in the process of making history by crafting a policy to make dissolution of marriage available to all Filipinos who want second chances in love, to rebuild their families and start all over again.

I believe in and support the institution of marriage. I myself was happily married. I have the highest admiration and respect for happy, married couples. Ang kasal, bukod sa pagdiriwang ng pagmamahalan, ay malalim na pagtataya sa tapat na pagsasama.

However, I also believe that Filipinos, especially women and their children, should have the right to turn the page and be free from abusive and loveless relationships. Buo ang aking simpatiya at suporta sa ating mga kababayan, lalo na napakaraming kababaihang biktima ng domestic violence at psychological abuse.

They, together with their children, deserve all the chances available in this world to build nurturing families and find true and meaningful relationships.

The Divorce Bill is pro-marriage, pro-family and pro-children. It makes us respect marriage more by being more discerning with our choices in life. It protects children from abuse and rebuilds broken families.

We can call it whatever we want. Divorce. Dissolution of marriage or ano pa man. Ang mahalaga, bigyan natin ng second chance ang ating mga kababayan.

I expect that we will have enriching conversations on the proposed measure. The fact that we have many advocates here today - both for the bill and against it - as well as the conversations in social media, speak to the intensity with which this bill is being debated on and scrutinized. Many points of view are being put forward. In today's hearing, we hope to create a platform for the discussion of these ideas in a sober and rational way.

We will try our best to hear all voices. And as I always like to remind, this Committee desires to provide a safe space for everyone. Let us be respectful of our differences, let us listen to each other.

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