SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday said the House would pass the bills on dissolution of marriage, civil union and the Bangsamoro Basic Law before Congress adjourns on March 23.
In a press briefing, Alvarez said he has directed the Committee on Population and Family relations to fast-track their deliberation on the various bills on marriage dissolution as an alternative to the costly, lengthy, and confrontational process of annulment under the Family Code.
“Ang commitment ko diyan, magbi-break kami nitong March, ano, so kailangang maipasa iyan on third reading bago kami mag-break,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez noted that there is a mounting call, particularly from the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), for the passage of the bill. In fact, Alvarez said that in comments in his social media page, many are appealing for the House to prioritize the marriage dissolution bill over federalism.
“Ang daming nangungulit sa akin diyan kahit na sa federalism ang pinag-uusapan ang comment sa social media puro dissolution of marriage. Ang tawag pa nga nila DOM,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez, who is the author of one of the bills on dissolution of marriage, said the House cannot ignore the clamor of the OFWs for the passage of the bill.
“At saka isi-simplify natin. Huwag nating pahirapan dahil ang nakuha natin doon sa mga reactions ng mga different committee hearings na ginawa, na sana man lang daw, huwag na yung expensive,” Alvarez said.
He noted that the process of annulment is very costly because the parties have to comply with publication requirements, hire lawyers, and attend many hearings, among others.
“Ano pa ba naman, pahirapan pa natin yung mga tao? Ayaw na nga, hindi ba? Tulungan natin to move forward,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said the State should not prevent the severance of marriage of married couples, to sever their marital bonds, particularly if they have reached a mutual agreement to end their ties.
“Nagpirmahan na nga, gusto na nilang maghiwalay, anong karapatan natin para sabihan sila na huwag silang maghiwalay? Anong karapatan natin para manghimasok doon sa kanilang basic human rights, hindi ba?,” Alvarez said.
Likewise, Alvarez said he was informed that the Committee on Women and Gender Equality that they have concluded their hearings on the bill recognizing the civil partnership of couples.
The bill seeks to recognize the rights of unmarried couples, whether they are of same sex or not, and protect them from possible discriminatory practices.
“Magte-terminate na sila and then ano, final committee report, dadalhin na sa floor for second reading, yun. Medyo advanced na yun,” Alvarez said.
As to the BBL, Alvarez said he also wants it passed before the March break.
“Para sa akin, isa pa… gusto kong aprubahan yung BBL bago mag-break din kami,” Alvarez said.
He does not foresee any problem with the passage of the BBL ahead of the charter change for a shift to a federal form of government.
“We just have to see to it na yung structure ng BBL ay adaptable later sa federal set-up,” Alvarez said.