Philippine Embassy - Tokyo, Japan > House Committee Conducts Productive Public Hearing in Tokyo On Dissolution of Marriage and Divorce Bills

House Committee Conducts Productive Public Hearing in Tokyo On Dissolution of Marriage and Divorce Bills

Filipino Community representatives manifest vocal support

TOKYO – The House Committee on Population and Family Relations of the House of Representatives successfully conducted at the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo last November 25 its second overseas Public Hearing on the various bills pending in Congress to allow divorce and the dissolution of marriage in the Philippines.

House Committee Vice Chairperson Rep. Aggabao opens the Public Hearing (Tokyo PE/Mr. Mark Akim)

House Committee Vice Chairperson Rep. Aggabao opens the Public Hearing (Tokyo PE/Mr. Mark Akim)

Presiding over the proceedings was Committee Vice Chairperson Rep. Ma. Lourdes R. Aggabao (4th District, Isabela), together with Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn F. Garcia (3rd District, Cebu), Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano (2nd District, Taguig), Rep. Emmi A. de Jesus (Party List, Gabriela), and Rep. Aniceto D. Bertiz III (Party List, ACTS OFW).

The Public Hearing touched on six (6) draft legislation, namely, House Bill No. 116 (An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce in the Philippines and for Other Purposes); House Bill No. 1062 (An Act Amending Title I, Chapter 3, of Executive Order No. 209, Otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, Prescribing Additional Ground for Annulment); House Bill No. 1629 (An Act Legalizing Church Annulment or Dissolution of Certain Marriages and for Other Purposes); House Bill No. 2380 (An Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines, Amending for the Purpose Articles 26,55 to 66 and Repealing Article 36 under Title II of Executive Order No. 209, as Amended, Otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, and for Other Purposes); House Bill No. 3705 (An Act Recognizing the Civil Effects of Church Declaration of Nullity, Annulment and Dissolution of Marriages and for Other Purposes); House Bill No. 6027 (An Act Providing for Grounds for the Dissolution of a Marriage); and House Bill No. 6446 (An Act Recognizing the Capacity of the Filipino Spouse to Remarry when the Alien Spouse has Obtained a Foreign Judicial Decree of Absolute Divorce, Amending for the Purpose Executive Order No. 209, Otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines).

After explaining the various bills, the Committee sought the views and suggestions of Filipinos in Japan with a view to allowing the ongoing deliberations in Congress to take their particular circumstances into account. Inputs from Filipino resource persons as well as Japanese legal experts from the Tokyo Public Law Office yielded valuable insights into the complex and long-standing problems and consular cases being experienced by Filipinos in mixed marriages in Japan under the current environment that bars divorce in the Philippines.

The Committee also obtained useful information on marriage and divorce statistics in Japan, as well as the legal and administrative framework governing divorce and associated issues such as child custody and property settlement.

Consul General Tirol-Ignacio delivers her statement, the first of 12 resource persons and two Japanese legal experts invited by the House Committee to share their views and comments.

Consul General Tirol-Ignacio delivers her statement, the first of 12 resource persons and two Japanese legal experts invited by the House Committee to share their views and comments.

Among the resource persons were Consul General Marian Jocelyn R. Tirol-Ignacio of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, and Consul General Ma. Aniceta H. Bugarin of the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka. Joining them in the panel were representatives from the Nagoya-based Filipino Migrant Center, the Tokyo-based Filipino umbrella organization Philippine Assistance Group (PAG), the Network of Filipino Social Development Workers in Japan (NETFIL), the Philippine Community Coordinating Council, Yokohama-based Kanagawa Philippine Pastoral Parish Workers ENCOM, the Nagoya-based Philippine Society in Japan, Shizuoka-based NPO Filipino Nagkaisa, Gabriela-Japan and the KAFIN Migrant Center.

The Committee takes questions and comments from the audience. (Tokyo PE)

The Committee takes questions and comments from the audience. (Tokyo PE)

Attendees voiced overwhelming support for the measures. The Committee expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the Public Hearing, and assured the Filipino community that the insights and information gathered would be duly considered in the deliberations in Congress in the succeeding weeks.

Prior to the Public Hearing, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V hosted the visiting Members of the House Committee to a welcome lunch.

pr-20171128-4-1The proceedings were broadcast live by the Philippine Embassy on its Facebook page, eventually accumulating over 10,000 total views.

According to the Philippine Embassy, there are over 270,000 Filipinos in Japan, making them the third largest group of foreign nationals in the country. The vast majority are women. Japanese government statistics obtained by the Embassy, meanwhile, showed that 33,884 marriages between Japanese and Filipinos in the period 1995-2015. During the same 20-year period, 26,955 divorces between Filipinos and their Japanese spouses were recorded. END

Consul General Bugarin of the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka delivers her statement before the House Committee on Population and Family Relations (Tokyo PE/Mark Akim)

Consul General Bugarin of the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka delivers her statement before the House Committee on Population and Family Relations (Tokyo PE/Mark Akim)

The House Committee on Population and Family Relations and the House Committee Secretariat pose for a photo with Embassy and Consulate General officials and Filipinos attending the Hearing (Tokyo PE/Mark Akim)

The House Committee on Population and Family Relations and the House Committee Secretariat pose for a photo with Embassy and Consulate General officials and Filipinos attending the Hearing (Tokyo PE/Mark Akim)

The House Committee on Population and Family Relations with Amb. Jose C. Laurel V and the Philippine Embassy’s organizing Committee for the Public Hearing (Tokyo PE/Mark Akim)

The House Committee on Population and Family Relations with Amb. Jose C. Laurel V and the Philippine Embassy’s organizing Committee for the Public Hearing (Tokyo PE)

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Links to the relevant House Bills are in:

http://tokyo.philembassy.net/01announcements/notice-to-the-public-10/
http://www.congress.gov.ph/legisdocs/?v=bills

For more information, contact:

The Embassy of the Philippines in Tokyo <Contact Form> or visit <http://tokyo.philembassy.net/> and  <www.dfa.gov.ph>