Strengthen family laws instead of allowing divorce – UST Rector

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File photo by Michael Angelo M. Reyes/The Varsitarian

UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. has spoken out against proposals to legalize divorce in the country, urging lawmakers to strengthen family laws instead of “providing an easy way out.”

“I think we have to strengthen more and revisit laws that we have in the Philippines like the Civil Code and the Family Code and see what we can actually do in order to strengthen the family rather than to [provide] an easy way out to resolve problems,” Dagohoy told the Varsitarian at the sidelines of the groundbreaking rites for the new UST campus in General Santos City last April 20.

Dagohoy said enacting laws such as divorce would not solve marital problems.

“Definitely our side is to follow the teachings of the Church in family and the problems of married couples would not be easily resolved by enacting a law,” he said.

Presidential bets in this year’s Central Student Council Executive Board elections, Francis Gabriel Santos and Karizza Kamille Cruz, expressed support the legalization of divorce in the Philippines during their mandatory debate last April 3.

READ: CSC presidential bets in favor of divorce

Sought for comment, Dagohoy said he respected the opinions of the candidates.

“I respect their opinion on the matter. We are in a university and I think that is their personal stand. It does not reflect the position of the University [and] that’s their personal take on the matter. [G]enerally, I know that they still reflect the values of the Thomasians,” he said.

In a pastoral statement last March 13, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said troubled marriages may be saved by “dialogues or the intervention of family, friends, pastors, and counselors.”

“Even couples in seemingly successful marriages would often look back and recall the countless challenges that had almost brought their relationship to a breaking point if they had not learned to transcend personal hurts through understanding and forgiveness, or sometimes through the intervention of a dialogue facilitator such as a marriage counselor,” Valles said.

The House of Representatives approved the bill titled “The Act of Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage” on third and final reading last March 19.

The grounds for divorce in the bill include: reasons stated for legal separation and annulment under the Family Code of the Philippines, psychological incapacity, gender reassignment surgery, irreconcilable differences and separation for at least five years.

The bill also aims to make divorce proceedings affordable by waiving filing and lawyers’ fees and ordering courts to provide psychiatric and psychological services.

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