MASS WEDDING. A total of 220 couples get married while wearing face masks amid the Covid-19 threat, in a mass wedding rites solemnized by Mayor Evelio Leonardia at the Bacolod City Government Center lobby on Thursday (Feb.20, 2020). The “Kasalan ng Bayan: 220 on 02-20-2020” was held on a palindrome day considered the best date to say “I do”, according to astrology. (PNA photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)

BACOLOD CITY – Some 220 couples here got married on Thursday while donning face masks as protection against the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) threat.

The mass wedding at the main lobby of the Bacolod City Government Center was officiated by Mayor Evelio Leonardia on a palindrome day of Feb. 20, 2020, which is considered the best date to say “I do”, according to astrology.

“This is a mass wedding like no other because of its unique date, and for the first time ever couples have to wear masks as a precaution,” the mayor said in his message during the matrimonial rites, which started late afternoon and ended early evening.

Leonardia added that the “Kasalan ng Bayan: 220 on 02-20-2020,” shows that indeed, “love conquers all” because none of the couples hesitated in being part of the mass wedding despite the Covid-19 scare.

“The Department of Health gave us a go-signal to hold this mass wedding,” he said.

Personnel of the City Health Office (CHO) were on hand to distribute masks to the couples, who were asked to fill out health declaration forms to determine both their health status and history of travel for the past 14 days.

Leonardia said his administration has been hosting a mass wedding every year during his several terms as mayor to institutionalize marriage among the Bacolodnons.

“A family starts with the couple. If we have a strong family, we have a strong society, and a strong city,” he added.

After the mayor solemnized the wedding rites, all the couples kissed with their face masks on, which drew laughter among them and from those who witnessed the event.

Oldest couple Rolly Glenn de la Cruz, 60, and Jennifer Mijares, 62, represented their fellow couples during the cutting of the cake and the toast to the newlyweds.

De la Cruz and Mijares have been together since 1979, and have two children who are in their 30’s.

Philippine Statistics Authority- Negros Occidental provincial head Luis Gonzales delivered the inspirational message while Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya gave the words of counsel.

Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and Councilor Al Victor Espino co-sponsored the event with the city government. (PNA)