On Valentine’s Day, Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez refiled the Civil Partnership Bill, docketed as House Bill No. 6782, which allows same-sex and opposite sex couples to enter into a Civil Partnership.
“Yes, I refiled it. First time was in the 17th Congress, then 18th Congress, and I am refiling it again in the 19th Congress,” he said
Alvarez presently serves his third consecutive – and therefore his last – term in Congress.
“This is my third term and third attempt for the Civil Partnership Bill. Who knows, it can be strike three, or it can be third time’s the charm. I’m not new to this. Some battles you win, some you don’t. But in either case, there is truth to the saying that politics is the art of the possible. Let’s file this, get the word out, and let us see what happens,” he said
Previous versions of the Civil Partnership Bill reached referral to the concerned Committee for deliberations. None successfully moved towards Second and Third Reading.
Asked why he was championing Civil Partnerships, Alvarez said that: “I am a legislator. My job is to identify problems and provide solutions to the pain points of ordinary life that people deal with. In this case, there is definitely an absence of legal framework for those who do not fit traditional marriages. Let’s think about them too. Huwag lang puro tayo.”
The Philippines is predominantly a Catholic country known for conservative values. And the Church retains its clout as a lobbying force that resists moves to alter the definitions of traditional relationships.
“Let’s talk, maybe we can find a common ground. But if they want a fight, okay lang din. Sanay tayo diyan. Bring it on,” he said.
Alvarez said the bill is of importance as well.
“I read a quote before, from a movie, and it described the need to have a witness to our lives, and we promise to care about everything, the good, the bad, and even the boring things, all of it, every day. We say to our partner, your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it, your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness,” he added.
Under the Family Code of the Philippines, only heterosexual couples can enter into a marriage, thus excluding members of the LGBT community and their relationships. Other issues that Civil Partnerships seek to address are the lack of legal rights, responsibilities, and protections for non-traditional unions.