By Cecille Suerte Felipe, May 24, 2022; The Philippine Star
Manila, Philippines — The Senate has approved on third and final reading a measure providing permanent validity of the certificates of live birth, death and marriage, barring agencies from requiring a new copy of these certificates from individuals who transact business with them.
Voting 21-0, senators recently passed Senate Bill 2450 or the proposed Permanent Validity of the Certificates of Live Birth, Death and Marriage Act issued, signed, certified or authenticated by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and its predecessor, the National Statistics Office, and local civil registries, and the reports of birth, death and marriage registered and issued by the Philippine Foreign Service posts.
“What is its mandate? Public or private entities are barred from requiring a new copy of these certificates from individuals who transact business with them,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said in his explanatory vote.
Recto added that after this bill becomes law, the government shall enforce the permanent validity of the certificates of live birth, death and marriage issued, signed, certified or authenticated by the PSA.
“The only exception is if it can no longer be read, or like a pained heart, it is already crushed. If the security features are no longer readable and authenticity is degraded, a new one is in order,” he said.
“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,” the senator said.
“Can I request replacement documents? Honestly, for as long as the reasons are valid, unlimited copies can be requested,” he added.
Those who are “poor in life – but rich in love – can get a replacement compensation for free as long as they can present proof that you are in need from the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” according to Recto.
“And the gist of the bill is this: a Filipino can celebrate his birthday as many times as he wants. But birth certificates are forever. The same principle should be applied to marriage as well,” he said.
“We often talk about red tape encountered by big business, and we have passed laws easing them the burden of doing business. It is time to extend the same relief to ordinary citizens. This revolving door in getting civil registry documents must now end,” he added.
The House of Representatives passed a counterpart measure in June last year.
The Senate has also approved on third and final reading a measure that seeks to strengthen the ability of parents to meet the needs of their children and advance their welfare.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture, hailed the Senate’s third reading approval of a bill that will boost effective parental involvement in children’s education, growth and development.
“Our parents are our first teachers, and they remain partners with our schools and communities when it comes to nurturing and shaping the character of young people,” Gatchalian said.
“Through the Parent Effectiveness Service (PES) program, we will strengthen the ability of parents to meet the needs of their children and advance their welfare,” he added.
SB 2399, or the proposed Parent Effectiveness Service Program Act, establishes PES program to strengthen the knowledge and skills of parents and parent-substitutes in responding to their parental duties and responsibilities.
The PES program, which will be implemented in every city and municipality, also aims to assist parents in promoting the protection of children’s rights, fostering positive early childhood development and advancing educational progress.
In implementing the program, local government units shall prioritize parents and parent-substitutes with vulnerable children such as children at risk, children in conflict with the law and children who have been exposed to or involved in violence in their home communities.
Solo parents and parent-substitutes as well as adolescent parents and their parents or parent-substitutes will also be prioritized in the program.
Gatchalian is the principal author of the proposed measure, that was inspired by Valenzuela City’s Nanay-Teacher Program, which was implemented with the help of Synergeia Foundation. It started as part of Gatchalian’s education advocacy when he was the city’s mayor.
The senator thanked Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who chairs the committee on women, children and family relations, who sponsored the measure.