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A Valentine’s mass wedding initiative

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

IRIGA, CITY --- Free food, two sacks of rice, and a P2,000 cash gift were generously provided to 29 couples from the Unurugan tribe as they celebrated their unions on Valentine’s Day. The mass wedding, held at RAV’s Farm in Sto Domingo village, was officiated by Iriga City Mayor Wilfredo “Rex” Oliva for the first time.

During the ceremony, Mayor Oliva emphasized the importance of mutual respect and genuine love between spouses, urging the men to be responsible providers and fathers. He sternly warned against any form of physical abuse and assured that the city government, under the banner of “Uda Mawatak, Uda matagak” (Nobody gets left behind), would not tolerate the abuse of women.

Mayor Oliva further detailed the support the LGU Iriga was providing, including one sack of rice, a P1,000 cash gift, and free food after the wedding. Additional assistance came from Congressman Miguel Villafuerte and Gov. Luigi Villafuerte, who contributed another sack of rice and a P1,000 cash gift each.

The mayor highlighted that the mass wedding aimed to facilitate the registration of documents for the indigenous people, enabling their children to be officially recognized at the city registrar’s office. This registration is crucial for accessing government assistance programs, specifically mentioning the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The initiative was initiated at the request of IP chieftain Raquel Cesno of the Unurugan tribe, aiming to address the lack of birth certificates among the majority of IP children. Cesno expressed her dream for the community to be registered, enabling access to government programs like 4Ps and ensuring that children can enroll in school.

To address this challenge, Mayor Oliva announced a late registration event on Feb 23, facilitating the registration of the tribe and senior citizens, including non-tribe members, at Iriga South Central School. The Unurugan tribe in Sto. Domingo village, Iriga City, comprises 75 families with a population of 356.


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