“I do.” Former rebels exchange vows in mass wedding at 58IB

CLAVERIA, Misamis Oriental – 16 couples, consisting of former rebels and Dimalulupig troopers with their civilian spouses, have officially tied the knot on November 05, 2021, at the headquarters 58IB, Sitio Migbanday, Barangay Poblacion, Claveria, Misamis Oriental.

The 58th Infantry Dimalulupig Battalion organized the mass wedding ceremony to commemorate its 36th founding anniversary. Collaborations with its partner stakeholders, particularly the Local Government of Claveria, Phividec Industrial Authority, and AFPSLAI, enabled the mass wedding to take place.

The 16 couples are made up of 10 former NPA rebel couples, 4 former rebel couples who became CAA, and 2 Dimalulupig troopers and their civilian partners. All of the former rebels mentioned were members of Sub-Regional Committee 1, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).

The couples tied the knot in a mass ceremony officiated by Lt Colonel Dionesio Acaso, Division Chaplain, 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, Philippine Army. Among the guests were Hon Meraluna Salvaleon-Abrogar, Municipal Mayor of Claveria, Hon. Peter M Unabia, Vice Mayor, Gingoog City, and Hon. Virgelia Dumadag, Board Member, 1st District of Misamis Oriental, both were the principal sponsors of the newlywed couples.

Meanwhile, the former rebel couples expressed their gratitude to the government and others who helped them every step of the way, for going above and beyond to help them in reintegrating to mainstream society, and as their lifelong dream of legally marrying was finally realized, as one of them put it, “Daghang salamat sa gobyerno sa tanang tabang na gihatag sa amo. Sukad pa nung nisurender mi, wala mi ninyo gipasagdan ug inyong gipaningkamutan na kami matabangan sa pagbag-o sa among kinabuhi. Salamat sa pagdawat sa amo sa pagbalik sa sabakan sa gobyerno. Ug kung sa bukid pa gihapon mi karon dili gyud namo masinati kaning ing ani nga makasal ingon na gawasnong lungsuranon. Karon, bag-ong dalan na ang among agion, ang dalan kung asa mi magtukod ug pamilya nga malipayon ug hapsay. Salamat sa atong gobyerno ug sa 58IB sa ilang pinakamalipayong regalo karong tuiga na among natagamtaman. Salamat sa inyong suporta ug paghigugma.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Meraluna Salvaleon-Abrogar graciously congratulated the 58IB on its 36th founding anniversary, as well as the newlyweds, in her message. “First and foremost, my congratulations and best wishes to the newlyweds.” Seeing your beautiful and vibrant smiles, this must have been the best day of your life, but I would like to emphasize that the day you decided to return to the folds of the law and surrender in peace is the best decision you have made in your lifetime. And for that, I would like to congratulate you and thank you. Thank you for finally stepping up and choosing life with your families in our government’s care over continuing to live a disgraced life with the armed group. The day you submitted to the government marked a new beginning in your lives, as did the outpouring of blessings. I hope and pray that you will continue your journey as husband and wife in the light of the Lord’s blessings, as free and responsible citizens of this country. I would also like to commend and congratulate the 58IB for initiating this mass wedding and upholding the traditions of love, inspiring unity, and cooperation through your founding anniversary celebration.”

Furthermore, Lt. Col Ricky L Canatoy, Commanding Officer of 58IB, also expressed gratitude to the Claveria Local Government Unit, stakeholders, former rebels, and Dimalulupig troopers for their unwavering support. “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to our partners for making this mass wedding possible and memorable for our former rebels.” We not only assist them in obtaining benefits through various government program initiatives, but we also demonstrate to them that they are truly accepted members of society.”

Families, visitors, and friends of the newlyweds were invited to witness the couples’ holy matrimony, while strict COVID-19 safety protocols were enforced.

A wreath-laying ceremony for the Dimalulupig Heroes’ Tomb was also held to honor and remember the ultimate sacrifice these heroes made in their service to the Filipino people and the nation. Following the wedding, the official and personal vehicles of the Dimalulupig troopers were also blessed.

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