In Roman Catholic Philippines, the support for divorce is on rise, reveals nationwide survey. Half of adult Filipinos surveyed by Social Weather Stations in March said estranged couples who are living apart should be allowed to divorce so they could find another spouse, the Manila-based pollster said.
A third of respondents disagreed while the rest were undecided, it added.
"Net agreement (was) a big change from merely neutral opinion six years ago, when 43 percent agreed and 44 percent disagreed," SWS said.
The shift owed mostly to the change in view of the men -- whether married or single -- and married women, as well as both sexes among the poorer classes, the polling firm added.
The survey, which interviewed 1,200 adults, asked only one question and did not query respondents about other situations in which divorce may be sought, such as where only one spouse had called for it.
Overwhelmingly Catholic Malta voted last week in favour of legalising divorce, leaving the Philippines and the Vatican city-state as the only places where it is still banned.
The House of Representatives, one of two chambers of the Philippine legislature, began debating a bill to legalise divorce this week amid strong opposition from the Catholic church, to which 85 percent of Filipinos adhere.
The Catholic leadership is also attempting to block passage of a proposed law that would allot state funds for a population programme.
President Benigno Aquino, who backs the population programme bill, has yet to express his stand on the proposed divorce law.