Romance is definitely in the air in Malasiqui town, Pangasinan.
The municipal government here sponsored a mass wedding for lovebirds who want to formalize their marital relationship. 87 couples tied the knot on Thursday, Valentine’s Day.
The ceremony was sponsored by the local government, providing free rings, coins, cords, veils, and cake slicing to the couples. Each couple could also have their godparents present. All they had to pay for out of pocket was their wedding dresses and certificate of no marriage.
The mass wedding event is a way for the municipal government to help couples legitimize their union. This can have many benefits to their family, particularly to their children.
Municipal Civil Registrar Jean Cecilia Soriano said that around eighty percent of children registered with her office were born out of wedlock.
Current laws provide more benefits to children whose parents are married. In the example case of health insurance, providers make children automatic beneficiaries of their parent’s coverage – if their parents are married.
The youngest couple to wed were 18 years old. The oldest were Felipe Cabreros, 80, and Natividad Galapate, 77, of Barangay Tobor.
“The Cabreros couple was married in Mindanao during their younger days but upon checking with the Philippine Statistics Authority, they discovered that their marriage was not registered. So they joined the mass wedding, like this is their renewal of vows and to formally register their marriage,” Soriano said.
Mayor Noel Anthony Geslani officiated the mass wedding. Church pastors were also there to give marital advice to the newlyweds.
According to Soriano, formalizing the union between you and your partner has multiple legal and civil benefits. However, many couples are turned off by the high cost of holding a wedding ceremony and reception, leading to them living together but staying unmarried.
“We invite other unmarried couples living together who were not able to join the mass wedding to visit our office and we would assist them, so they could get married through civil wedding. The cost is very minimal as they would only pay for the needed requirements,” Soriano said.