Pray for our congressmen
posted 1-Apr-2018  ·  
1,795 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Majority of congressmen in the Bicol region, most of whom are seen joining the “traslacion” of the “Ina” every September, have voted in favor of House Bill 7303 or the Divorce Bill.

One does not see where their conviction to support the controversial anti-family bill comes from: it is either the need to toe the party line to preserve their pork barrel allocations or their experience with power and the money it attracts has enabled them to consider ditching their own wives as the House Speaker has done.

As Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano said in voting against the bill, the supposedly pro-women legislation seeks to afford women to free themselves from the clutches of evil men but the reality is that the women are most likely to suffer once divorced.

He cited a British study that showed that while divorce has a positive effect on men’s finances, separated women have a poverty rate of 27% - three times that of their former husbands. Moreover, he said, only a third of them receive regular support payments from their former husbands.

Rare is the separation of a Filipino family where the husband takes the children since they would not be most welcome in a new relationship he will be entering. As a result, the woman is left with the burden of raising the children alone.

Alejano also underscored the dangers that separation from either one of the parents exposes children: behavioral problems, negative self-concept, social problems, difficulties in relationships with the separated parents, higher likelihood of depression, violence, learning deterioration and even a high risk of committing suicide.

While the former Army officer-turned-Oakwood mutineer recognizes that there are irreparable marriages, a better option than divorce it to make the existing legal remedy of annulment more expedient and affordable for poor couples. The learned congress members should consider amending the law not only shorten the process but to incorporate prior counseling for troubled couples, preferably with the participation of their children at one point or another since it will be the kids who will be most affected.

What should stand out in the continuing debate is the disastrous effect divorce will have on Filipino society, which thrives and survives on strong family ties.

As the Magdalo partylist representative suggests, the government and lawmakers should focus more on strengthening the Filipino family by educating young people on the heavy responsibilities of having a family.

There may not be a counterpart bill in the saner chamber that is the Senate for HB 7303 to progress into law but what has been proven in the past weeks is that the current administration can have the bill passed in no time by the political supermajority in its camp.

The 134 congressmen who voted for the Divorce bill most likely did not consult or heed the advice of their own wives and children. Like some priests who face a dichotomy of faith where what they preach does not match what they practice, Filipino politicians share a similar experience: professing integrity while accepting commissions, publicly showing love for their wives while keeping mistresses on the side, or saying one thing while doing exactly the opposite.

This Lent, let us forgive these 134 congressmen and their counterparts in the local government their trespasses while we pray for God’s light and wisdom to descend on them.

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