TACLOBAN CITY – After six-years of being together as live-in partners, Noela Cristine Tare, 28 and Genaro Adora Jr, 37 finally had their union blessed in a sacrament of marriage during a mass wedding sponsored by Oxfam, We Care Partners and the city government of Tacloban.
The mass wedding, held on March 1, served as the opening salvo of the activities lined up by the city government for the Women’s Month celebration.
Unlike the 128 other couples, Adora and Tare were both deaf-mute and were classmates since elementary and became a couple six years ago.
During the entire wedding ceremony, the couple had an interpreter who relayed to them what the host and the speaker were saying.
They both said their “I dos” through a sign language.
Adora said that while have they have wanted to get married before they could have children, lack of money hindered them to do it.
“We also don’t know how we can get married,” Adora said in sign language relayed by an interpreter during an interview.
When they learned about the mass wedding, they immediately grab the chance given by the city government and its partner Oxfam and We Care Partners since they were already living together for six years.
For a couple to avail of the mass wedding, they must be living together for about five years.
Legalizing union is very important because it will not only benefit couples but including their children, Wilma Perante, regional director of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.
“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 child in the country,” Perante said.
“This program will correct that problem because after this ceremony you will apply for legitimation even they are already using the father’s surname. This would change the status of your child and this is the greatest gift that you can give to your life after this marriage ceremony,” Perante added.
Based on the PSA data, as of June 2017, a total of 97, 834 babies were born out of wedlock or illegitimate child in the region.
“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 shares.
Mayor Romualdez, who solemnized the wedding ceremonies, advised the newly-wed couples to always love each other and always 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 advised.
Apart from the mass wedding ceremony, the campaign for equal distribution of housework between couples was also launched led by movie and television actress and care work advocate Camille Prats.
The campaign, dubbed as “I Laba Yu”, encourages husbands and wives to share household’s chores and responsibilities.
“Sharing houseworks with your partner is a best example that you can show and teach to your children, and to express your love to your husband or wife,” Prats said.
In the 2017 Oxfam’s Household Care Survey from Eastern Visayas and Mindanao, shows that women spend an average of 4.5 to 6.5 hours of households chores which is six times higher than men.
It also said that women spend a total of 11 to 12 hours of elderly or child care which is two to four hours times longer than men.
“Women disproportionately carry the burden of unpaid care work. It is time that we resurface and recognize it as shared responsibility by everyone. Equality should begin at home,” Oxfam Philippine Country Director Maria Rosario Felizco said.