TACLOBAN CITY -- After six-years of living together as couple, Noela Cristine Tare and Genaro Adora Jr., exchanged ‘I dos” during a mass wedding Friday sponsored by non-government organization Oxfam, We Care Partners and the city government here.
The mass wedding at the Tacloban City Convention Center is an opening salvo for the various activities that the city government has lined-up for the Women's Month celebration.
Tare, 28 and Adora, 37 were among the 129 couples from the city’s 36 villages who availed of the project that aims to legalize the union of couples who have been living together for at least five years.
The two were sweethearts for 15 years before deciding to start a family six years ago. Unlike other couples who availed the mass wedding, Tare and Adora are born deaf-mute. They have two boys who were born without physical disabilities.
During the entire wedding ceremony, the couple had an interpreter who relayed to them what the host and the speaker were saying. They both responded in sign language.
Life is not easy being born a deaf-mute, said Tare, who now works as a dishwasher in the main branch of Jollibee in this city. Her husband will be trained as a tailor in Metro Manila.
Adora said that although they wanted to get married before having children, lack of money hampered them to make it happen.
"We also don't know how to get married legally," Adora said through sign language relayed by an interpreter to reporters.
Legalizing union is very important because it will not only benefit couples but their children as well, Philippine Statistics Authority Regional Director Wilma Perante told couples before the civil wedding ceremonies officiated by Mayor Cristina Romualdez.
“We are happy that the city government and its partners came-up with this program because Region 8 is rank second with the most number of illegitimate children in the country,” Perante said.
“This program will correct that problem because after this ceremony you would apply for legitimation even if they are already using their father’s surname. This would change the status of your child and this is the greatest gift that you can give to your life,” she added.
In the 2016 record released by the statistics agency in February 2018, Eastern Visayas had a total of 45,398 illegitimate children out of 74,725 children born in the said year, representing 60.8 percent.
“Giving legitimacy to your children will greatly affect them. This will take the stigma away from your children who sometimes suffer bullying because you are not married,” Perante said.
Romualdez urged couples to always love their partner and show affection to them.
“As a couple who loves each other, you should learn how to be patient and knows how to forgive whenever your partner committed something wrong,” Romualdez said. (PNA)