A Catholic priest said the reported decline in the number of Filipino couples getting married might be due to a growing fear of a life-long commitment.
“My distinct impression is that the reason behind this phenomenon is the fear of a life-long commitment on the part of the couples,” said Father Melvin Castro of the Diocese of Tarlac.
He said the failure of the Catholic Church to provide catechism to young people might also be a reason.
“Some do not see any need for the reception of the sacraments,” said the priest, adding that it is “mainly because of the lack of catechesis.”
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported this week that fewer Filipinos got married in 2019 based on their latest data.
The PSA report shows that there were a total of 431,972 registered marriages recorded in 2019, lower than the 449,169 tally in 2018.
The latest Philippine Marriage Statistics revealed women tend to marry younger than men, as the median age of marriage for females is at 27 years old and men at 29 years old.
About one in three Filipino men (36.5%) and women (36.2%) are getting married between the age of 25 and 29 years old, the PSA report noted.
Of the total marriages in 2019, about 38.6% were made through civil ceremonies.
Marriages officiated in the Catholic Church came in second (36.2%) followed by other religious rites (22.9%), Muslim tradition (1.4%), and tribal ceremony (0.9%).
More males and females aged 25-34 years old who got married were solemnized in the Catholic Church compared to any other types of marriage ceremony.
Father Castro, who used to be the head of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic bishops’ conference, said the reported drop in the number of registered marriages is not new.
The priest said the downtrend, although “alarming,” started a few years ago.
“Now that this year marks the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines, the Church has to embark, as always, on a renewed and re-vitalized evangelization of our people,” said Father Castro.
He expected, however, to see a further drop in the figures in the coming year due to the coronavirus pandemic that caused the cancellation of many church weddings.
Almost half or 44.9% of the total number of marriages in the country in 2019 occurred in December (12.0%), February (11.5%), May (11.1%), and April (10.3%).
In 2019, there were a total of 15,047 marriages involving Filipinos and foreign nationals.
The highest number of intermarriages involving Filipino men were with American women (16.6%), followed by Australian (14.0%), Canadian (12.3%), Chinese (7.2%) and Japanese (7.1%).
On the side of Filipino women, the highest number were with American men (26.8%), followed by Japanese (10.6%), British (6.6%), Korean (6.3%), and Canadian (5.7%).
The Philippine Statistics Authority came up with the 2019 Philippine Marriage Statistics using registered marriage certificates at the Office of the City/Municipal Civil Registrars throughout the country from January to December 2019.