Lawmaker wants to amend Family Code to allow online weddings
MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to allow “virtual” wedding ceremonies through video, audio, and data transmission devices amid the coronavirus pandemic has been filed at the House of Representatives.
Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo has filed House Bill No. 7042, aiming to amend the country’s Family Code and make virtual weddings valid to “allow people from different physical locations to simultaneously communicate, see, and hear each other.”
In the explanatory note of the proposed measure, Salo said the coronavirus pandemic has caused many wedding ceremonies to be canceled or postponed since mass gatherings have been prohibited and physical distancing must be observed.
There are also perceived health risks in the conduct of traditional weddings especially that solemnizing officers are often senior citizens.
“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,” Salo said.
“It is respectfully proposed that the term presence and personal appearance provided in the Family Code be broadly construed to include the virtual presence,” he added.
Under the bill, the couple to be wed will be required to be together in one location so they could jointly face the solemnizing officer even if online.
The certificate of marriage, it said, must likewise be notarized prior to its registration with the local civil registrar.
Virtual marriages between Filipino citizens abroad may be solemnized by the Consul-General, Consul or Vice-Consul of the Philippines, the proposed law further stated.
These marriages may also be officiated by priests or religious leaders of the church the marrying couple abroad belong even as these religious officials are based in the Philippines, it added.
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