In light of the pandemic, just about anything is going online—including usually crowded events such as birthdays and now, possibly even weddings. A bill to allow the conduct of “virtual” wedding ceremonies using video, audio, and data transmission devices amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been filed in the House of Representatives.
— Erwin Colcol (@erwincolcol) June 30, 2020
Kabayan Partylist representative Ron Salo, who filed the bill, stated that the pandemic has forced engaged couples to postpone or even cancel their wedding plans due to the ban on mass gatherings and observance of physical distancing.
The bill, which seeks to amend Executive Order No. 209 or the Family Code of the Philippines, cites the code’s Article 2 which states that for a marriage to be valid, there must be the presence of a solemnizing officer. Salo’s bill adds to this saying that a virtual presence must also be allowed.
“It is respectfully proposed that the term presence and personal appearance provided in the Family Code be broadly construed to include virtual presence,” he said.
Under the proposed bill, the male and female spouses to be wed must be physically together in one location but their presence before the solemnizing officer may be remote or virtual. A certificate of marriage must be notarized prior to its registration with the local civil registrar. The bill is also applicable for marrying Filipinos abroad. Their virtual marriage may be officiated by religious leaders, Consul-General, Consul or Vice-Consul of the Philippines.
Engaged couples with marriage plans falling out due to the pandemic have resulted in limiting the number of guests during their weddings (but still facing the risk of the virus) or waiting it out and coping with the changes that the pandemic has forced upon them. The cancellation or postponement of wedding preparations, which underwent much time, effort and expenditure, have also taken a toll on these couples.
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Writer: THEA TORRES