Families urged: Speak out vs. dissolution of marriage bill
MANILA – With the formal filing of House Bill 6027 legalizing the dissolution of marriages, families and couples are urged to be quick on the draw by speaking out on the issue in the public sphere.
“Family and life groups, that is, married couples especially, should let their voice heard. Let their congress people know what they [couples] think about this issue… in the strongest possible way! …But without being violent!” said Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon in an interview.
According to the prelate, the filing of the bill, which is now pending with the Houe Committee on the Revision of Laws, should move lay people to write letters to their congressmen and congress women, and even to President Rodrigo Duterte, create social media posts, organize rallies, symposia, and focus group discussions on the issue.
Baylon pointed to the supernatural character of the attacks against the institution of marriage. “….The battle is not on human levels now. …Satan feels his time is getting ever shorter, so he’s trying to gather the dark forces around him. We need all the support we can get from God’s super army: the host of angels!”
‘Foundation of the nation’
CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs executive secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano echoes the same sentiment saying it is high time lay people “speak up” and “make their opposition known.”
“Even if futile to argue based on our teaching, they still need to make some noise. Sometimes the battle is fought not on ideologies but in numbers. We need to impress on lawmakers that Filipinos are not ready to succumb to the bastardization of marriage,” said the priest.
Technically, however, Secillano said the anti-family nature of the bill will make the passage of the bill next to impossible, pending the amendment of the Family Code, which recognizes marriage as the foundation of the family, and the family as the “foundation of the nation.”
“They should change first the Constitution and the Family Code before they can pass that bill. The content and intent of the bill are clearly against those laws. There is no way that it should be passed based on legalities alone,” said the canon lawyer.
Meanwhile the already controversial bill authored by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is drawing quick reactions among lay groups.
Children, first victims
“There is danger that when this bill is passed, marriage will be taken lightly. After all dissolution is easy and inexpensive. When this happens there will be a natural breakdown of the family, the basic unit of society,” said Rita Dayrit, Prolife Philippines president.
According to her, those who stand to lose from the bill are the children, who will “experience a terrible sense of insecurity” because of marriages that can be dissolved on the basis of irreconcilable differences or “severe or chronic unhappiness.
“Happiness is subjective, influenced by our values, environment and other factors. To use unhappiness as a basis for the dissolution of marriage reduces persons to objects that can easily be dumped when the purpose for its acquisition has ceased,” Dayrit added, saying the group plans to release an official statement in the days to come.
In an official statement, pro-life group Filipinos for Life (F4L) slammed the bill and called on legislators to pass laws that uphold marriage and family instead.
“We ask all our lawmakers to stand for what is right, and craft laws that defend the institution of marriage. To build and strengthen the family is the very essence of nation-building, and therefore every effort should be made by the government, through our lawmakers, to foster an environment that would create stronger ties between husband and wife,” reads the statement released Aug. 7.
Wanted: pro-family bills
The group points out that intact marriages directly contribute to society. “Society benefits from a strong marriage: it helps raise responsible and mature children, giving them a solid role model for their own marriage, and it builds healthy communities,” said F4L. “To dissolve a marriage is to erode the very foundations of this country.”
Going proactive, the group offered their “humble assistance to this administration and to all our policy makers in order to aid them in this sacred duty of preserving marriage and the Filipino Family.”
In an interview, F4L spokesperson Anthony James Perez said the group is ready to offer talks on family, write articles, and refer troubled couples to counselors and family and life groups to sort out marital issues.
Co-authors of the bill include Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. CBCPNews