The move to legalize divorce in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, gets “very strong” support among men and women with live-in partners, widowed or separated men, and even both men and women who want “a happier love life,” the latest snapshot of the Fourth Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.

“Net agreement with legalizing divorce was very strong among women with live-in partners (+44 or 64%), men with live-in partners (+37 or 60%), and widowed/separated men (+33 or 60%),” the poll group said in its report.

Meanwhile, divorce gets a “moderately strong” support (+24 or 56%) among women who are widowed or separated.

The SWS terminology for net agreement: +50 and above, “extremely strong”; +30 to +49, “very strong”; +10 to +29, “moderately strong”, +9 to -9, “neutral”; -10 to -29, “moderately weak”; -30 to -49, “very weak”; -50 and below, “very weak”; -50 and below, “extremely weak.”

Respondents were asked whether they agree or disagree to the test statement: “Married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore should be allowed to divorce so that they can get legally married again.”

Support for divorce is also stronger among Filipino men and women who “want a happier love life” than those who already have “a very happy love life or no love life all.”

“Net agreement was a very strong +32 (or 60% ) among those who said their love life could be happier, higher than the moderately strong +19 (or 52% ) among those with very happy love life, and the moderately strong +17 (or 52%) among those who said they have no love life at all.”

With a net agreement score of +21 (or moderately strong), more than half or 53% of adult Filipinos nationwide said they support the legalization of divorce “for irreconcilably separated couples.”

Major churches support divorce

Divorce legalization gets moderately strong support among Catholics (+23), neutral (-8) among Iglesia ni Cristo members, and still moderately strong among other Christians at +12.

SWS said the “survey was asked also to Muslims but the findings were not applicable since they currently have divorce in their Shari’ah Law.”

The non-commissioned surveys cited in this report, which were conducted from March 25-28, 2017 and December 8-16, 2017, used face-to-face interviews with1,200 adult Filipinos (18 years old and above) nationwide. — Arjay L. Balinbin