TACLOBAN CITY — Love knows no bounds, that not even one’s absence of personal liberty can stop it.
Jim, 29, proved this when he exchanged “I do’s” with Gem, his partner for seven years, in a mass civil wedding ceremony in one of the jails in Leyte.
The mass wedding, dubbed as “Kasalan sa Piitan,” was a simultaneous ceremony for inmates in various facilities of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Eastern Visayas last 14 February as a highlight of the Valentine’s Day celebration.
Jail Chief Supt. Edwin Riel, BJMP regional director, hatched the idea as part of the rehabilitation process of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who have been in a relationship with their partners for at least five years and were already in the relationship prior to incarceration.
“Marriage is the most important foundation of a family. It means that a couple is not just living together but are committing themselves to a lifetime relationship. This is also to prepare the inmates for their release, so that when they are set free, they will have a family waiting for them,” Riel said.
At the Tacloban City Jail, Mayor Alfred Romualdez solemnized the wedding of seven PDL, who tied the knot with their respective partners in a simple ceremony attended by jail officials.
Jail senior inspector Jim Buranday said that it is their way of helping the PDL legitimize their union as live-in partners are not granted regular visitation rights. While they allow once a month visits for unmarried couples, they may enjoy more frequent visitation rights once married.
The local government also waived marriage fees and provided cakes to each couple, while the BJMP shouldered the expenses of the wedding reception.
BJMP Assistant Regional Director for Operations Jail Superintendent Benedicto Catudio Jr. and Regional chief Welfare Development Jail Inspector Ma. Nemia Lopez also witnessed the wedding ceremony.