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Virtual weddings to be legalized here in the Philippines?

Virtual weddings to be legalized here in the Philippines?

In sickness and in health…and in quarantine? The pandemic crisis definitely increased our dependency on the Internet as we do online for almost all activities. Because of technology, we can work, shop, and even have a medical check-up while staying inside our houses. A few days ago, a solon filed a bill at the House of Representatives to allow “virtual” wedding ceremonies. 

Photo by Jose Luis Gonzales from Reuters

Weddings amidst the pandemic

According to Kabayan Partylist Representative Ron Salo, the pandemic has forced engaged couples to postpone or even cancel their wedding plans. This postponement and cancellation due to the ban on mass gatherings and observance of physical distancing. With this, he filed House Bill  7042 to allow wedding ceremonies that make use of video, audio, and data transmission devices.

Photo from Philippine News Agency

There’s a proposal to include the virtual presence along with the terms presence and personal appearance.  He added, “The essence of the marriage ceremony is the personal appearance of the parties before the solemnizing officer and their declaration that they freely and willingly take each other as husband and wife.”

Photo from Preview PH

A soon-to-be-married couple should still register to make it legal

The House Bill 7042 will amend Articles 2, 3, 6, and 10 of the Family Code of the Philippines. Under this proposal, the bride and groom must marry each other in one location. However, their presence before the solemnizing officer may be virtual. Even though the marriage is virtual, they should register with a local civil registrar along with a notarized certificate of marriage.  This is to make sure the authenticity of the marriage and verify the identity of the bride and groom.

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Moreover, the Consul-General, Consul, or Vice-Consul of the Philippines may be solemnized virtual marriages between Filipino citizens abroad. Priests, religious leaders may also officiate virtual weddings based here in the Philippines. Representative Ron Salo compared the virtual wedding ceremonies to many government hearings and meetings. He even added, “The Supreme Court also allowed the oath-taking ceremony of the 2019 Bar examination passers via online videoconference.” He explained that the Family Code took effect more than 30 years ago and technological advancements should be considered to amend its provisions.

Do you agree that it’s time for the government to allow virtual weddings?

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