Hontiveros vows to push hard for divorce law in Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2019   •   1290

Senator Risa Hontiveros

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday vowed to push hard for the passage of divorce law in the country as she met with groups advocating for its legalization.

Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, met with five advocacy groups including the Divorce Advocates of the Philippines (DAP), Boses ng Kababaihan, Divorce for the Philippines Now International (DIPI), Divorce Philippines Coalition (DPC), and Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage Philippines (DDoMPh).

The lawmaker, in filing the Senate Bill No. 356 or the Divorce Act of 2019, sought to make “psychological incapacity of either spouse,” “irreconcilable marital differences,” marital rape, or being “separated for at least 5 years” grounds for divorce, among others.

Hontiveros said meeting with these groups is in preparation for a “historic fight to free Filipinos from abusive, loveless and unhappy marriages.”

“This is history in the making. This meeting marks an important stage in the larger work to have a divorce law in the country. It’s time that we gave Filipinos the chance to free themselves from abusive, loveless and unhappy relationships, and to help them find love and start all over again,” Hontiveros said.

However, some senators have said they are not inclined to support the bill.

READ: Senators may likely back dissolution of marriage than divorce – Sotto

“I will definitely oppose it,” said Senator Joel Villanueva when asked about his thoughts on the proposal being revived in the Senate.

Villanueva has previously expressed strong opposition to the divorce bill, insisting that the Philippines is a Christian nation where marriage is considered sacred.

“Banal na sakramento ang kasal, at naniniwala po tayo na hindi po dapat payagan, in general concept hindi dapat paghiwalayin ng tao,” he said.

Senators Cynthia Villar and Manny Pacquiao are also not in favor of the bill.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, said senators are more likely to support the measure if it is not called “divorce.”

“Mukhang mas madali, karamihan sa amin, mas madali kung pag-uusapan namin ay dissolution of marriage,” Sotto said in an interview.

Aside from Hontiveros, Senator Pia Cayetano also filed her version of absolute divorce bill that seeks the legal termination of marriages by Philippine courts.

Hontiveros said her office is now in the process of consolidating the different versions of the bill, setting the appropriate committee hearings and talking to like-minded legislators.

“I believe in and support the institution of marriage. I myself was happily married. However, I also believe that Filipinos, especially women and their children have the right to second chances to turn the page and live good and happy lives. This measure is for them,” she said.

NHCP on Spanish-produced animated film: We respect artistic freedom

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 8, 2019

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has said they respect artistic freedom and has clarified that they do not endorse or critique films and other art forms.

This is amid the backlash from the Spanish-produced animated film, Elcano and Magellan.

In a statement, chairperson of the NHCP and the vice-chairperson of the National Quincentennial Committee Dr. Rene Escalate said the public should understand the nature of history as biased, subjective, and selective.

“This is true with the Spanish-produced animated film, Elcano and Magellan, which is, obviously, biased in favor of Spain and conforms to the Spanish point-of-view of the history,” he said.

“We are also biased toward our national sentiment and perspective: that Lapu-Lapu is our hero and Ferdinand Magellan was the defeated foreign intruder,” he added.

Escalante, meanwhile, requests the public to be critical and make use of the opportunity to discover who truly are our ancestors through books and museums.

“To enrich your knowledge about our identity as a people,” Escalante said.—AAC

Duterte thanks outgoing Ambassador Zhao for role in PH-China ties

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shakes hands with Chinise Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua at the President’s Hall in Malacañan Palace on March 7, 2017. KING RODRIGUEZ /Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte thanked outgoing Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua for his contributions in forging “stronger” ties between the Philippines and China.

In a farewell call held at Malacañang on Monday, Duterte acknowledged Zhao’s vital role in the more robust bilateral relations between Manila and Beijing, adding he hopes Zhao’s successor would be as good, if not better than him.

“President Duterte, whose independent foreign policy drove the Philippines closer to the Asian economic giant, wished Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua good luck in his next assignment as China’s ambassador,” the Palace said in a statement late Monday night.

Zhao, 53, holds a Master’s Degree in World Economy from Nankai University and a Master’s Degree in International Policy and Practice from Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

He served as China’s envoy to the Philippines in 2014.

Prior to his appointment to the country, he was the ambassador of China to the Republic of Liberia from 2010 to 2013.

PH, China sign 6 bilateral deals

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 25, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discusses matters with Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China Hu Chunhua who paid a courtesy call on the President at the Malacañan Palace on October 24, 2019. RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The Philippines and China have signed six bilateral agreements which include feasibility studies for two huge projects under President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build Build Build” program.

On Thursday (October 24), The Department of Finance (DOF) said Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua and Philippine officials, led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, witnessed the signing and exchange of the following bilateral documents:

· Feasibility study for the Davao City Expressway Project conducted by CCCC Highway Consultants Co., Ltd., and funded by grant financing from the Chinese government.

· Feasibility study for the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge Project, which was also conducted by CCCC Highway Consultants Co., Ltd., and funded by a grant from the Chinese government.

· The Philippine Radio Equipment Project, which provides for the Chinese donation of broadcasting equipment to the Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS) of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). The donation includes, among others, live broadcast room equipment, FM broadcast transmitter equipment, and medium wave transmitter equipment.

· The China-Aid Container Testing Equipment covering the donation of four sets of Mobile Container/ Vehicle Inspection System and two sets of CT Scan Inspection System to the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

· The implementation of the Marawi Sports Complex and Central Market Projects as part of the reconstruction program for the devastated city of Marawi through an exchange of letters between Secretary Villar and Deng Boqing, the Vice Chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).

· The Protocol on Phytosanitary Requirements for the Export of Avocado from the Philippines to China, which was signed andexchanged between Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Zou Zhiwu, the Vice Minister of General Administration of Customs of China (GACC).

Dominguez has expressed his gratitude to Vice Premier Hu and the Chinese government for their unwavering assistance and cooperation especially in implementing the Duterte administration’s priority projects.

Meanwhile, Vice Premier Hu said, “I’ll be happy to work together with you, Mr. Secretary, to implement the important consensus of our two heads of state and to promote the better development of our cooperation.”

The DOF said the Philippines has also secured a total of $430.82 million worth of grants from China since 2016.—AAC

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