Birth certificates are forever 1

Birth certificates are forever

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto

Posted at Dec 16 2021 12:37 AM

(Editor's note: Sponsorship speech of Sen. Ralph Recto on Committee Report 334 on Senate Bill 2450: Permanent Validity of the Certificates of Live Birth, Death, and Marriage Act) 

In one sentence, this is the gist of the bill: A birthday can be celebrated yearly. But birth certificates are forever.

Same with marriages. Legally, you can have many – for as long as it is due to death of spouse or of love – but the marriage certificate for each should be valid for as long as you two live happily together, which is not necessarily ever after.

No state can guarantee that wedded bliss can last a lifetime. But it can issue a marriage certificate which does not expire for as long as love has not.

This bill removes the expiry date on birth, marriage and death certificates. If land titles of expensive real estate do not bear a “best before” marking, why should civil registry documents have one?

Before I proceed, let me slay one persistent urban legend. That these government-issued documents have a prescribed legal shelf life.

No, there is none.

Pero bakit po ang dalas hingin? Most probably, entities, like the school one is applying admission to or the company where one would like to work, are the ones making the demand, which has no basis in law.

These documents are like paper currency—whether frayed by age or fresh from the mint, they retain the same value and are valid for transaction.

Besides, in the case of birth certificates, every Filipino whose birth has been registered with the Philippine Statistics Authority or PSA and its predecessor agencies has a permanent and unique Birth Reference Number or BReN assigned to him.

This makes the demand for brand-new certificates a costly and unnecessary redundancy, as each has never been meant to be a single-use document.

But to be sure, this rule is reiterated in this bill.

Ano po ang mando dito? National government agencies, LGUs, GOCCs, private companies, private and public schools, and other non-government entities are barred from requiring a new copy of these certificates from individuals who transact business from them.

After this bill becomes law, government shall enforce the permanent validity of the certificates of live birth, death, and marriage issued, signed, certified, or authenticated by the PSA.

At hindi lang po ang mga nasabing dokumento mula sa PSA— kasama rin ang inilabas ng predecessor nito, ang National Statistics Office o NSO, and the local civil registries, and the reports of birth, death, and marriage registered and issued by Philippine foreign service posts transmitted to the PSA. 

Ang exception lang po ay kung hindi na mabasa, o tulad ng pusong nasaktan, ay durog-durog na. If the security features are no longer readable, and authenticity is degraded, a new one is in order.

Or if the civil registrar subjected you to a sex change by clerical mistake, so that you’ve become a he instead of a she, a gender reassignment caused by an errant stroke of a pen, then in that case you will need a corrected birth certificate.

Maaari po bang humingi ng kapalit na mga dokumento?

Sa totoo lang, for as long as the reasons are valid, unli po ang bilang ng pwedeng hingin.

Para nga doon sa mga mahirap sa buhay—pero mayaman sa pag-ibig—maaaring makakuha ng kapalit na walang bayad basta may maiprisinta lang na patunay na ika’y gipit sa buhay mula sa DSWD.

Isa pa pong magandang probisyon ay ang mandato na pag-link up ng mga embahada natin sa civil registry database ng ating bansa.

Under this bill, our Foreign Service Posts shall have a “virtual viewing facility” where the authenticity of the certificates of live birth, death, or marriage can be verified, based on my understanding, by the requesting individual.

Mr. President, my dear colleagues.

Red tape is said to be a form of a “time tax”. When productive hours of a citizen which can yield compensation are wasted in the labyrinth of bureaucracy, income is forfeited.

In fact, the cost of document charged by the state is always smaller than the actual total cost of acquiring it—which includes fare, meals and salary forfeited when one is forced to be absent from work.

We often talk about red tape encountered by big business. And we have passed laws easing them of the burden of doing business. 

It is time to extend the same relief and liberality to ordinary citizens.

Bago ko po wakasan ang pagpapanukala ng bill na ito, gusto ko po sanang ilabas, na bilang isang pasakalye, ang isang masalimuot na isyu na may kaugnayan sa bill na ito.

Kailangan din po bang gawing permanente at hindi napapalitan ang Certificate of Candidacy?

Boto po ako sa ideyang ito.

Pero sa ngayon, pakiboto po muna sa bill na ito.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.