It’s official, Philippines will be the only country with no divorce. The Southern European country of the Republic of Malta, smacked right at the center of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily and east of Tunisia, voted in favor of legalizing divorce as announced by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi last Sunday, May 29. Malta, a dominantly catholic nation (95% Catholic), is the only other country that deems divorce illegal.

It was a really close call as 54% backed a call to allow couples to divorce after four years of separation (Fiona Govan). Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who is actually against legalizing divorce, ┬ásaid in a statement, “The referendum outcome is not the one I wished for, but the will of the majority will be respected and parliament will enact legislation for the introduction of divorce.”

This leaves the Philippines to be the only country wherein divorce is not allowed. Both sides, whether you are against or for divorce, have a valid point. Legalizing divorce may tend to its abuse and the breakdown of the importance of marriage which we Filipinos have been taught for the longest time. But looking the other way will not also solve the problem of the plight of separated families, whom the spouses would live with other partners but cannot marry because they cannot divorce, and annulment costs too much.

Whatever the outcome, the church will have a greater role in advocating the sanctity of marriage. If in the future our country would finally make divorce legal, persons who enter into marriage should realize that what they are getting into is a lifetime commitment, and divorce is the final solution to irreparable damages, not a way to bail out if not everything goes as smoothly as planned.