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Wife confiscating husband's salary liable for economic abuse under House bill

Wives or female partners who require their husbands/male partners to turn over their entire salary to them will be committing economic abuse and will be punished under a proposed law at the House of Representatives, a lawmaker said Friday.

The provision is part of the proposed Anti-Violence Against Partner and their Children Act, a measure that amends the Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 by expanding its coverage from women to all those who experience acts of violence from their partners.

Rizal Representative Fidel Nograles, author of the bill, said that such coverage for economic abuse is necessary, considering that not all husbands earn more than the wife and/or are fulfilling the breadwinner role in every household.

"Economic abuse happens kapag financially dependent na lang ang isa sa kanyang partner.. 'yung nawawala na ang kanyang karapatang tugunan ang kanilang mga sariling pangangailangan," Nograles said.

"Maaari itong maging isang uri ng economic abuse na puwede nating tugunan sa ilalim ng ating batas," he added.

"'Yung pagkuha ng ATM card kung nasaan ang suweldo, hindi na nabibigyan ng pagkakaton ang mister na mag-decide sa gastusin."

Nograles then stressed that his proposal is not putting women at a disadvantage but is in fact promoting gender equality because as it is, economic abuse on wives or female partners are also punishable under the existing Anti Violence Against Women and Children Act.

"Sa batas po natin, kapag ‘yung babae ang hindi binibigyan ng pera ng kanyang husband, ‘yun yung economic abuse. Pero ngayon, meron kasing mga bagong set up sa pagitan ng husband and wife," he said.

"Uso na ngayon ‘yung houseband or ‘yung mister na nasa bahay at yung wife o 'yung misis ang nagha-hanapbuhay kaya puwedeng ma-reverse ‘yung situation na yung husband naman ‘yung umaasa doon sa kanyang misis sa sustento,” Nograles added.

Nograles also said by filing the bill aims to "mainstream gender equality."

The Rizal lawmaker said that in his experience in providing legal aid to people with marital problems, there are 12 to 15 abused husbands/male partners in every 100 couples and there could be more.

"'Yung macho culture ng ating lipunan, ego [ng mga lalaki] ay mga dahilan po kung bakit nahihirapan silang lumantad," Nograles said.

"Kapag naging mainstream na itong issue ng abused husbands, tataas na rin po ang bilang nung mga lalapit sa media at hihingi ng tulong sa pang-aabuso."

Under the measure, violence against partners and their children is defined as "any act or a series of acts committed by any person against their spouses, former spouse, partner, former partner, or against any other person with whom they have or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom they have a common child, or against the other person's child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty."

The term "partner," however, does not necessarily refer to heterosexual ones, but also to lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, intersex, cisgender, and transgender partners. —KBK, GMA News