Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Romualdez asked the newly-wed couples to always love and respect each other for their union to last forever. Mayor Romualdez officiated the mass wedding of 129 couples during a ceremony held at the Tacloban Convention Center on March 1. (A. ALAMOS)

TACLOBAN CITY-Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez officiated the wedding of 129 couples from 37 barangays at the Tacloban City Convention Center (Astrodome) on March 1, 2019.
The couples enjoyed the free ‘kasalang bayan’ or mass wedding, a regular program of the city government through the City Civil Registrar’s Office (CCRO).
Fees for marriage applications and marriage licenses were also waived for the newlyweds and a free wedding reception was sponsored for them by the local government.
Mayor Romualdez, in her message during the mass wedding ceremony, reminded the couples that marriage is a covenant between the couple and advised them to be steadfast in their relationship.
Sixty Seven-year-old Eduardo Penidillo and Clarita Enosario, 65 were the oldest beneficiaries of the program. The couple who were unable to hold a wedding because of poverty has been living together for 30 years.
Coinciding with the event was the launching of the #iLabaYu advocacy campaign of Oxfam with celebrity influencer Camille Prats.
According to Oxfam, the campaign encourages men to share in household chores, particularly laundry and contribute to raising a future generation of Filipinos that live out the true meaning of respect and equality beginning at home.
Prats was accompanied by Oxfam Country Director Rosario Felizco. The non-government organization partnered with the CCRO for the free civil wedding program.
Philippine Statistics Authority Leyte Director Wilma Perante, City Social Welfare Officer Remedios Buna and CCR Officer Imelda Roa also witnessed the Mass Wedding.
Before the event on Friday, the couples attended a pre-marriage orientation and counseling activity conducted by the City Population Office, in coordination with the CSWDO that had topics on “Marriage and Relationships”, “Responsible Parenthood,” “Child Rearing” and Family Planning.”
According to the CCRO, Pre-Marriage Orientation and Counseling is “pre-requisite” activity for would-be spouses to help ensure a strong and healthy married life.