Absolute divorce bill hurdles 2nd reading in House

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

May 16, 2024, 4:49 am

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill reinstituting absolute divorce in the country.

It passed through voice voting House Bill (HB) 9349, or the proposed Absolute Divorce Act.

The bill stipulates the grounds for absolute divorce, which include psychological incapacity, irreconcilable differences, domestic or marital abuse, when one of the spouses undergoes a sex reassignment surgery or transitions from one sex to another, and separation of the spouses for at least five years.

The grounds for legal separation under the Family Code of the Philippines can also be considered grounds for absolute divorce. These include:

• Physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;
• Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation;
• Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostitution;
• Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than 6 years;
• Drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, or chronic gambling;
• Homosexuality of the respondent;
• Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage;
• Marital infidelity or perversion or having a child with another person other than one's spouse during the marriage;
• Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner; and
• Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year

The grounds for annulment of marriage under the Family Code of the Philippines are also grounds for absolute divorce.

Practice of midwifery bill

Meanwhile, the House also approved HB 10079, which seeks to repeal Republic Act 7392 or the “Philippine Midwifery Act of 1992,” on the third and final reading.

A total of 186 lawmakers voted in favor of HB 10079. No lawmaker opposed the bill or abstained from voting.

The bill aims to expand the midwifery curriculum from its present two-year to a “four-year Bachelor of Science Degree” to equip midwives to provide quality health care services and to meet international standards in midwifery practice.

Increasing the curriculum to four years, according to the bill, would also allow the midwives in the government service to qualify for higher positions as they shall be considered professionals under the Civil Service Commission Guidelines.

The bill provides the harmonization and ladderized education system of all education and training mechanisms pertaining to midwifery.

Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron P. Salo, one of the authors of the bill, said the bill is aimed at establishing clear guidelines and standards for midwifery education and practices, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the delivery of high-quality maternal care throughout the country.

“The approval of this pivotal act reflects a commitment to the well-being of mothers and infants, positioning midwives as indispensable contributors to the health care landscape,” Salo said.

He said the proposed measure not only strengthens the role of midwives in the health system but also promotes the optimal health of mothers and their babies. (PNA)