Lawmakers say House can tackle divorce despite Taal eruption, nCoV
MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers have dismissed allegations that the divorce bill’s discussion was untimely, as the country is still reeling from the effects of the Taal Volcano eruption and the 2019 Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
House committee on population and family relations chair and Guimaras Rep. Ma. Lucille Nava said on Wednesday that she does not see any problem with tackling the issue, as her committee was not tasked to handle matters related to health and the Taal Volcano eruption.
“I think it is appropriate, you know because we have to consider that this bill has already been approved on third reading before, so I think there is no specific time for us to approve or to tackle the divorce bill,” Nava said in an ambush interview after the hearing.
“But of course important ‘yong mga nCoV (discussions) in the other committees. Eh magkasabay naman, it’s not called in my committee ‘di ba. So simultaneously we cover ‘yong iba, ‘don sa health,” she added.
(But of course, the other committee’s discussions on the 2019-nCoV are also important. They are being held separately, and it is not called in my committee. It is being held simultaneously, the House also covers other issues, particularly the health committee.)
Albay 5th District Rep. Edcel Lagman, who moved to approve House Bill No. 100 or the Absolute Divorce Bill of 2019 which he authored, implied that the 2019-nCoV is not enough reason for lawmakers to stop discussing other pressing issues.
The bill was approved on the committee level earlier after no lawmaker objected Lagman’s motion.
“Bakit naman (Why should) we will only concentrate on only one issue? This country will have to address many problems, the problem will include the present novel coronavirus and how we are going to respond to it, the Taal issue, and other problems like the clamor to institute a divorce law,” he told reporters.
Nava and Lagman were asked by reporters to comment on the statements of lawyer Lyndon Caña of the Coalition of Concerned Families in the Philippines, who claimed that there are more pressing issues that need the attention of Congress, other than the divorce bill.
Caña and the Coalition of Concerned Families in the Philippines also earlier opposed divorce and other controversial proposals, like the SOGIE Equality Bill.
“But I really, truly believe that there are more urgent (issues), for instance pinag-uusapan ng House kung ano ba ang gagawin natin sa novel coronavirus, na ngayon kaya nga naka-mask ‘yong iba sa atin,” Caña said during the hearing.
(But I really, truly believe that there are more urgent issues, for instance the House is talking about what we should do about the novel coronavirus, which has forced some of us to wear face masks.)
“Anong ginawa na natin sa milyong-milyon na affected ng Taal Volcano eruption? ‘Yong mga tinamaan po ng earthquake sa Mindanao at sa ibang lugar? Those, madam chair, are more urgent issues that we should be addressing, not divorce,” he added.
(What are we doing to help the millions affected by the Taal Volcano eruption? Those who were hit by the earthquake in Mindanao? Those, madam chair, are more urgent issues that we should be addressing, not divorce.)
While the House committee on population was hearing the opinions of resource persons, another panel was discussing measures being done to avoid the spread of the 2019-nCoV, which originated in Wuhan, China.
Earlier, the Department of Health has confirmed the third 2019-nCoV case in the Philippines, days after another patient died. As of now, more than 20,000 individuals have been infected with the latest coronavirus strain, and at least 425 have been confirmed dead.
Meanwhile, hundreds of families affected by the Taal eruption last January 12 are still staying inside evacuation centers as Alert Level 3 is still hoisted in areas near the volcano.
READ: BREAKING: 60-year-old Chinese woman is PH’s 3rd 2019-nCoV case – DOH
Edited by MUF
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