Mass wedding continues despite COVID-19 scare

Newly-wed couples hold hands as they attend a mass wedding as they mark Valentine's day amidst fears of the China COVID-19 virus on February 14, 2020 in Sta Rosa, Laguna, Philippines. (Photo by Jes Aznar/Getty Images)

DESPITE the threat of respiratory illness Covid-19, 96 couples pursued to tie the knot at the Fort San Pedro in Cebu City on Valentine’s Day, which fell on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020.

The couples participated in the mass wedding dubbed as “Libreng Kasalan, I Do, I Do, Araw ng Pag-IBIG,” an event organized by the Home Development Fund, commonly known as Pag-IBIG Fund.

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella acted as the solmenizing officer.

The event pushed through despite the Department of Health advisory telling the public to avoid big crowds amid the threat of Covid-19, the new name of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Earlier the DOH recommended the cancellation of planned big events or mass gatherings until further notice. It is also advising the public to avoid crowded places and continue to practice self-protection measures.

Precautionary measures

Pag-IBIG Fund vice president for Visayas and Mindanao Rio Teves said the mass wedding was supposed to be participated by 100 couples, but four couples declined due to personal reasons.

Similar events were held in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Davao in Mindanao; Talisay City in Negros Oriental; in Manila and other cities in Luzon.

As part of the event’s precautionary measures, Teves said that all couples, the Pag-IBIG Fund employees, usherettes and officers were subjected to temperature reading before they went inside the venue.

Teves said the temperature checkers had been told to bar persons from entering the venue if their temperature were more than 38 degrees Celsius, and advise them to see a doctor.

He said the Pag-IBIG personnel were also told to advise attendees showing symptoms of common colds and cough to seek treatment.

The Pag-IBIG Fund team prepared alcogel and masks for the participants.

Before the mass wedding, the Pag-IBIG Fund personnel also held an orientation, during which they checked if all the couples were healthy.

The oldest couple in the mass wedding was Fernando Daquioag, 54, and Nolyn Cabrera, 50. They have been living for 28 years and they have five children.

Kevin Quijano, 25, and Charish Mae Rabusa, 21, were the youngest pairs in the event.

Labella said he will give free trip to Boracay to oldest couple. (USJ-R intern Mae Fhel Gom-os)