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Bill to allow virtual marriages filed in the Philippines

The suggested change to marriage law is the latest proposal aimed at encouraging people to have more children. Photo: Simon Song. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, Jul 1, 2020, The Manila Times. Kabayan part-list Rep. Ron Salo on Tuesday filed a bill seeking to allow virtual marriages. House Bill 7042 seeks to amend Articles 2, 3, 6 and 10 of the Family Code of the Philippines, The Manila Times reported.

Salo said the marriage ceremony’s essence “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.”

He said the coronavirus pandemic caused the postponement and cancellation of many wedding ceremonies because of the prohibition on mass gatherings, observance of physical distancing and health risks posed.

Salo added that the Family Code took effect in 1988 when virtual presence was just a figment of the imagination.

“Thus, its provisions may have already been overtaken by advancements in technology,” he said.

Article 2 of the Family Code provides that for a marriage to be valid, there should be legal capacity of the contracting parties and their consent should be freely given in the solemnizing officer’s presence.

Under Salo’s bill, the presence of the contracting parties may be physical or virtual.

If the marriage was performed virtually, the certificate of marriage must be notarized prior to its registration with the local civil registrar to ensure its authenticity and due execution.

Marriages between Filipino citizens abroad may be solemnized by a consul-general, consul or vice-consul of the Republic of the Philippines.

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