wedLingig, Surigao del Sur – Some 49 couples said “I do” at Holy Child Parish Church in Lingig, Surigao del Sur on March 25, 2010. They are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)

“The regular conduct of the Family Development Sessions (FDS) helped these couples realized the importance of marriage” says Myla Aquino, 4Ps Municipal Link Officer.

“We want our union to be legalized because we believe it will help us become an effective parent,” says Annabel and Mergel Onsegra, who have been living together out of wedlock for 10 years already.

The 49 couples agreed to have the mass wedding officiated by a priest and be done at the church.

After the ceremony, the 49 couples proceeded to the municipal gymnasium where they were joined by other 4Ps beneficiaries to celebrate with them. They were welcomed by the 4Ps parent leaders with the singing of the song “From This Moment”. Slicing of cakes, drinking of wine and the couple’s first dance also highlighted the reception. The couples also gave souvenirs to their sponsors.

4Ps is a government’s poverty reduction strategy. It gives cash grants to those extremely poor households in order to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly children age 0-14.# # #