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CFC-FFL STATEMENT AGAINST THE PASSING OF THE DIVORCE BILL
Peace to All!

May this note find you in a time of deep prayer and reflection.

Last July 2017, our Community released our Position Paper against the Divorce Bill. Attached, for your guidance and Household Discussions, is our Updated Position Paper on the Consolidated Version of the Divorce Bill.

A few days ago, on February 21, 2018, Legislators passed a consolidated version (from 4 Divorce Bills on file), without contention. The same Legislators, who spearheaded the Reproductive Health (RH) Law, are leading the passage of the Divorce Bill. With the passage of this Bill at the Committee level, and the pronouncement by Speaker Alvarez in a Press Statement wherein he vowed to the public that his pet Dissolution of Marriage bill would be approved by the Lower House of Congress on third and final reading before Congress goes on legislative break on March 23, we know that it will take our prayers and the concerted efforts of family movements and the Catholic Church institutions to persuade the Senators not to pass the bill.

Meanwhile, we must be forearmed and stand vigilant for the protection of the Sacrament of Marriage, the core of our very existence and mission.

God bless all of us.

In the service of the Holy Family,

Lachie Agana

Country Servant

for the Servant General and the Servant Council



CFC-FFL Statement Against the Passing of the Divorce Bill
By the House Committee on Population and Family Relations
House of Representatives
Republic of the Philippines

February 23, 2018

We, the members of the Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL) and its Family Ministries, Young Couples Ministry, Servants for Family and Life, Handmaids for Family and Life, Singles for Family and Life, Youth for Family and Life, and Kids for Family and Life, Work for Life, denounce the passage of the “Divorce Bill”, entitled, “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines (Absolute Divorce Act of 2018)”, by the House Committee on Population and Family Relations, last February 21, 2018. (This passage at the Committee level is the prerequisite for the Bill’s being passed by the Lower House of Congress after debates in a Plenary session). Stated below are the compelling reasons based upon the articulations of the proponents of the consolidated Divorce Bill.

NOTE: CFC-FFL released last July 27, 2017 its combined position paper against the Divorce Bill and the Homosexual Union Bill, known as the SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity).

I. In summary, we re-state:

As a Catholic evangelistic and missionary community, committed to the renewal of the family and the defense of life, CFC-FFL adheres faithfully to a set of beliefs and ideals from which flow its Christian attitudes, values and behavior, as well as its programs, teachings and approaches to Christian renewal within the context of family relationships.

We invite all in unity to a life in Christ Jesus, wholly dedicated to loving God and serving Him. Marriage, although regulated by civil and church laws, originates neither from the church nor the state, but from God. Therefore, neither church nor state can alter the intrinsic definition of marriage, with its indissolubility.

II. Below is an update on the Divorce Bill:


1. The proposed law contradicts and, for all intents and purposes, devalues a morally enshrined provision in the Philippine Constitution, “Article XV on the Family, Section 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development. Section 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.

NOTE: The Legislators1 rationalize that the Divorce Bill does not violate the Constitution by these statements: 1.1“It is not an affront to the constitutional provision on the sanctity of marriage as a basic social institution because what is subject to divorce proceedings are marriages long dead or vitiated from the very start. In the language of the Supreme Court, it is giving a decent burial for a cadaver of a marriage.2” 1.2 “To show that the State places importance on the sanctity of marriage, the court will only start divorce proceedings six months after the petition for divorce is filed.” 1.3 “To mandate a six-month “cooling off” period “as a final attempt of reconciling the concerned spouses for abusive relationships”.

The aforementioned statements of the Legislators manifest the lack of intent and judiciousness towards the repairing and restoring marriage as an inviolable social institution.

2. Further the proponents’ stated intention to facilitate and prioritize the processing of Divorce for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) is deplorable. De facto, all married persons who are OFWs are separated from their families placing their marriages at risk due to infidelities. Thus, for the Divorce Bill proponents to institute this rationalization, which overlooks and ignores the fact that the deeper problem of OFWs is about instability of marriages and parents-children relationships, parental absence that are linked to more profound problems such as juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, school dropout, teenage pregnancy, early marriages among the children of migrants, as well as other serious damages to marriage and the family. Therefore, this is an unacceptable rationalization by the proponents of the Bill because it undermines the necessity for legislating greater interventions to strengthen and protect the Marriages and Family lives of the OFWs and grossly oversimplifies the Divorce process.

3. Another stated intention of the proponents is to redefine the term “indigents” as those whose real properties are below P5 million, an amount proposed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano explained that the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) they consulted had specifically asked that the process would be affordable or would not cost them a year’s salary.

NOTE: The definition of an indigent based on Republic Act 7875 is “Indigent – A person who has no visible means of income, or whose income is insufficient for the subsistence of his family, as identified by the Local Health Insurance Office and based upon specific criteria set by the Corporation in accordance with the guiding principles set forth in Article I of this Act.”

The Divorce Bill’s proposal to expand the definition of “indigents” to include those whose real properties are below Php 5 Million, is highly prejudiced to grossly cheapen the cost of nullifying marriage. The value of marriage is being reduced to a commodity that can be discarded at a cheaper price by a wider population. This expanded category of indigents, to include those whose real properties are below 5 Million, is an insult to the true indigents of our society.

CONCLUSION:

All attempts by government institutions, with special reference to this proposed Divorce Bill that was recently approved by the Committee on Family Relations, and scheduled for approval during the forthcoming plenary sessions at the Philippine House of Representatives, are seen to be essentially political and self-serving. It violates our founding Christian principles that Marriage and the family, are central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened and not undermined.


1Congressman Edcel Lagman, Head of the Technical Working Group for this Divorce Bill and former proponent of the former Reproductive Health Bill that was enacted into a law;
2Interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling on a dissolution of marriage Te vs Te GR #161793, Feb 13, 2009.

Copyright 2008 Couples for Christ Foundation, Inc.
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Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines
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