De Lima seeks Family Code amendments for equal parental responsibilities

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure seeking to guarantee equal rights and protection for husband and wife in their own homes, especially with their upbringing of children.

De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1730 amending Articles 14, 12, 124, 211 and 225 of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 209, or the Family Code of the Philippines, which illustrate inequality between spouses by providing more privilege, power and control to men.

“This bill seeks to rectify the inequality in decision-making in the household by amending certain provisions in the Family Code of the Philippines,” she said.

“These provisions are deemed patriarchal and detrimental to establishing the status of married women as partners and equals in their own homes. Progressive amendments more apt with the current times are thus introduced in this bill,” she added.

In filing SB. No. 1730, De Lima said the abovementioned articles under E.O. No. 209 all gave preferential treatment for the father/husband, thus promoting gender inequality.

As such, De Lima proposed under Sec. 4 Art. 211 that in cases of disagreement between the spouses on exercising parental authority over the persons of their common children, the spouses shall always resort to the courts to decide the case. Under Sec. 5, Art. 225, De Lima likewise proposed that the spouses shall also resort to the courts in terms of deciding the guardianship over the property of unemancipated common child, in case of disagreement. “These provisions are not to be taken for granted knowing that the woman’s importance in nation-building starts from her role in the basic unit of society, the family,” she said. In her proposed measure, De Lima also sought to revise Sec. 2, Art. 96 and Sec. 3, Art. 24 of the E.O. 209, which originally favor the husband’s decision in terms of the enjoyment of the community property and conjugal partnership, respectively. De Lima explained that on matters relating to the disagreement, neither of the spouses shall unilaterally carry out acts of administration over the community property and conjugal partnership without first obtaining a proper judicial order. The Senator from Bicol also proposed revision for Sec. 1, Art 14 of the same measure to clarify the requirements needed for couples ages 18-21 who are planning to get married.

De Lima, who was recognized by Amnesty International as one of the notable Women Human Rights Defenders Under Threat, vowed to continue fighting against injustices while in detention despite the vicious gender-based attacks against her by the President and his lackeys.

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