Press Release
March 18, 2006


BANGKOK, THAILAND An estimated 2.6 million Filipino children have not been registered with civil registrar offices upon birth, virtually making them stateless individuals who have no legal personality.

Drawing attention to this problem based on government census, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today urged the government to launch nationwide information campaign and grant incentives to local government units to encourage parents to register the birth of their children with the civil registrars.

Pimentel said the mass media must be harnessed to promote birth registration and make the public aware of the benefits of this process.

Registering childbirths lays the foundation for children to be recognized as persons who are entitled to medical, educational and social protection in the country of his or her birth, he told the 4th Asia and Pacific Regional Conference on Universal Birth Registration in Bangkok, Thailand.

Pimentel said that the child, without legal personality, cannot make demands for his or her rights to be recognized. He said without state recognition of the childs entitlements, he or she could wind up a deprived individual.

Chances are that if the unregistered children fail to get what registered children get from their communities, the former could precisely turn out to be problem children, he said.

Pimentel said city, municipal and barangay officials must help in maximizing efforts to register child births.

Citing a built-in incentive for these local government units to do so, Pimentel pointed out that the Local Government Code mandates that the number of people residing in the locality be factored into the formula to determine the share of the provinces, municipalities and barangays in the revenue collected by the national government.

He also proposed the grant of some monetary or infrastructure awards for the best-performing barangay in outlaying areas in the registration of births. He said non-government organizations and civic clubs should be tapped to help in the public awareness drive.

Pimentel observed that ignorance and poverty are the usual excuses for the failure of parents to register the births of their children.

If the people do not know why the child has to be registered and the advantages of registering the child, there is no inducement for the parents or the next of kin to register the baby, he said.

Under the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child, the child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

Pimentel cited the efforts of the government, through the national census office, to improve child registration. He said these efforts include the declaration of Civil Registration Month, convening of national birth registration conference, strengthening of civil registration systems, holding biannual meetings of local registrars, amending the registration law and developing a central database on civil registration.

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