• Filipino Marriages: Are They Still Meant to Last?

    Statistics during the last few years suggest that less and less Filipinos are saying "I do" and more and more couples are ending their marriages. There was even a proposal to establish an expiration date for Filipino marriages. Are marriages in the Philippines still meant to last? Read on to learn what SP moms and lawmakers have to say about the matter.
    by Stephanie F. Esguerra .
  • During the month of hearts, people are bound to reflect on the current status of their relationships. Whether the occasion becomes a reason for the celebration of a joyous union or the severing of ties, when it comes to the topic of marriage in the Philippines, statistics show that marriages have taken a nosedive during recent years. A proposal on setting an expiration date for marriage contracts also raised many eyebrows but stirred a thoughtful discussion on related issues such as divorce and annulment. We share what the numbers say and the views of SP moms and lawmakers on this issue.
     
    By the Numbers: “I Dos” Versus “I Don’ts”
    According to Romulo Virola, secretary-general of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) , there has been a general decline when it comes to the percent of Filipinos getting married.
    Only 45.7% of the country’s total population was married, as compared to the 80s where 50.6% of Pinoys tied the knot.

    -In 2008, only 50.7% of women aged 15 to 49 were married, whereas in 1993 54.4% were married.What’s even saddening is that more and more Filipinos are putting an end to their marriages.

    -In 2000, 1 out of every 100 Filipinos was separated from his or her spouse.

    -In 2008, around 3 in every 100 Filipinas aged 15 to 49 were separated from their partners. On the other hand, back in 1993, it was 2 per hundred.In a country that is highly structured around the family as its basic social unit, parents hold the responsibility of upholding the togetherness of the family through the strength of their union. Does this mean that more and more Filipinos are scared of saying “I do”? Is it indicative of a collective fear of commitment? What factors could possibly contribute to this decline?
     
    “Until death do us part” or “Until our marriage expires?”

    In January 2010, a women’s partylist group, 1-Ako Babaeng Astig Aasenso (1-ABAA), proposed that marriage contracts have expiration dates, rousing much discussion and various reactions among both lawmakers and the public.

    The group was championing the idea that such a proposition, if enacted, would allow women to “become economically empowered by helping them become entrepreneurs, giving them better employment, providing sources of livelihood, access to capital, and other ways to make women financially independent.”

    Here are what SP moms, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel had to say:

    “What if before your marriage lasts 10 years you don’t want to be together anymore? Then you will have to persevere until you reach 10 years?”

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    l“Good for those na hindi na happy sa married life nila; no need na para ipa-annul pa. Good din sa mga happy sa mgamarried life, kasi baka gusto nila ulit magpakasal para mai-renew.” (This is good for those who are no longer happy with their married life; there will be no need for annulment. This is also good for those happily married because they might want to get married again to renew their vows.”) -Ida

    “I do not agree with renewable marriage contract.  I’d prefer divorce. I agree that divorce is complicated and expensive, but that's the consequence you have to deal with for the decision you have made. Plus, this is much faster than waiting for the expiration.” - MissPyschi

    “It will go against the Constitutional provision that the family is the basic foundation of society. Certainly the proposal will also go against majority beliefs.” – Senate Minority Leader “Nene” Pimentel

    Sen. Allan Cayetano expressed that the proposal was a good springboard for discussion of relevant social issues, but it is highly unlikely that such measures will be implemented as most lawmakers are still conservative. 

     

    SOURCES:
    “Love by the numbers: Fast facts about Filipino relationships,” ABS-CBN News1980, 1990, and 2000 Census of Population and Housing1993, 1998, 2003, and 2008 National Demographic and Health SurveysPhilippine Health Statistics of the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health“Marriage with expiration date, anyone?” MB.com.ph“Marriage expiration” by Ana Marie Pamintuan, philstar.com

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