July 6, 2020
With the issuance of Proclamation Numbers 922 and 929 dated March 8 and 16 respectively, that placed the entire country under State of Public Health Emergency and State of Calamity due to the outbreak of COVID-19, a joint advisory number 2020-01 or interim guidelines on the provision of Pre-Marriage Orientation and Counseling (PMOC) services during the health crisis was issued by the national technical working group (NTWG) composed of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Health-Center for Health and Development 1 (DOH-CHD l), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Commission on Population andDevelopment (POPCOM), and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Upon consultation, the PMOCNTWG recommends the continuous provision of pre-marriage orientation and counseling (PMOC) services through alternative and innovative modalities or in their PMOC session hall with strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols.
The PMOC program is designed for the would-be couples to contemplate the journey they are to enter, usher them in determining their readiness in getting married and guiding them to prepare for their marriage, not only preparing for the wedding. Further, it will help them become good spouses, responsible parents and effective home managers. The program has 2 modules: Module 1 is the pre-marriage orientation (PMO) of which attendance to the PMO sessions is a basic requirement to all marriage license applicants regardless of age and Module 2 is the pre-marriage counseling (PMC) which is the second basic requirement for the marriage license applicants aging 18-25 only. This is to ensure that more deepened counseling is given to young marriage license applicants that would enhance their understanding on the journey they are to share together onwards.
In connection, POPCOM-X issued an Interim Guidelines to the Local Government Units (LGUs) advising the provincial and city population officers (P/CPOs) to continuously conduct and provide PMOC services to people who intend to get married during the state of public health emergency with strict compliance to the omnibus guidelines on the implementation of community quarantine in the Philippines. Example: Limiting the participants to 5 couples per session; mask wearing; physical distancing; minimum or no interaction activities, etc.
The Philippine government remains committed and innovative in ensuring full implementation of the Philippine Population Management Program (PPMP), which includes the continued provision of PMOC services, to effectively address population issues and concerns in the midst of COVID-19 health crisis, and be a part of the government’s “we heal as one” vision.