A majority of Filipinos would support a change in the law to allow divorce, a new poll has revealed.
The Philippines, made up of over 7,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, is the only country in the world apart from Vatican City which does not permit divorce for most of its citizens.
A recent survey by the public opinion polling body Social Weather Stations found that 60 per cent of citizens agreed that “married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore” should be allowed to divorce. Over half of those who agreed did so strongly.
Only 29 per cent of respondents disagreed that divorce should be legalised, but most of them disagreed strongly.
According to Social Weather Stations, this latest poll shows that support for divorce is increasing in the country. When the same question was asked in 2011, 50 per cent agreed that divorce should be legal and 33 per cent disagreed.
Researchers also found that the number of Filipinos who are cohabiting has risen from eight per cent to 16 per cent since 2011. It is also the group which demonstrated the strongest support for legal divorce.
Although the Philippines has a secular government, an overwhelming majority of citizens identify as Catholics. However, due to a Presidential Decree which legally recognised certain “Muslim Personal Laws”, the 11 per cent of the population who adhere to Islam are able to divorce in certain circumstances.
Photo of Manila, capital of the Philippines, by Storm Crypt via Flickr