MASS WEDDING. Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia (seated, center) witnesses the signing of marriage contract by couple Ricardo Tomayao, 74, and Glaiza Cosme, 29, in the presence of other city officials during the mass wedding ceremony at the Bacolod City Government Center grounds on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. (Photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)
BACOLOD CITY -- A total of 220 couples said “I do's” in two separate ceremonies dubbed as “Kasalan ng Bayan: The Bacolod Mass Wedding 2019” officiated by Mayor Evelio Leonardia over the weekend.
On Sunday, 200 couples tied the knot in an elaborate event held at the Bacolod City Government Center grounds from late afternoon until the evening.
A day before, Leonardia also officiated the wedding of 20 couples in Barangay Taculing.
The mayor was joined by city officials, who served as principal sponsors, including Rep. Greg Gasataya and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, during Sunday’s rites.
“We initiate mass weddings because we believe that marriage institution is the basic unit of the society. This is one of the factors that will make the city grow. The family starts with you once you get married and that is the fiber of society that will make Bacolod develop further,” Leonardia told the couples.
During the wedding ceremony, he announced that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is also one of the principal sponsors, who promised to send wedding gifts to the newly-weds.
He added that the senatorial candidates supported by Hugpong ng Pagbabago, chaired by Duterte-Carpio, are also on the list of “ninongs and ninangs” (godparents)
“This is a special mass wedding because your principal sponsors are special,” the mayor said.
During the symbolic signing of the marriage contract, the couples were represented by the oldest groom, Ricardo Tomayao, 74, and his long-time partner, 29-year-old Glaiza Cosme.
The couple, who have three children, lived together for 15 years before they got married.
Tomayao, a mechanic and former jeepney driver, was a widower with eight children when he met Cosme when she was 14.
The Sunday wedding rites were also witnessed by Luis Gonzales, provincial head of the Philippine Statistics Authority-Negros Occidental, and City Civil Registrar Hermilo Pauyon.
Pauyon said the mass wedding event is a yearly activity of the City of Bacolod.
“This a big help for live-in couples especially those who have children who will be legitimized once they get married,” he added. (PNA)