Press Release
May 23, 2022

SB 2450: Permanent Validity of the Certificates of Live Birth, Death and Marriage
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto

23 May 2022

Mr. President:

In five minutes, or by the time I have finished explaining my vote, 16 Filipinos would have been born.

Yes, we add a classroom to our population in 10 minutes, and the population equivalent to Brunei's in three and half months.

Before they're brought home, their parents will have to fill up the form for a document that would prove that they have been born into this world.

A document that would be tethered to them for the rest of their lives.

They would need it to get baptized, enroll in school, get a job, travel, marry the love of their life.

It would even be needed after they have breathed their last, because in this land choked with a thicket of laws, no dead can be buried without it.

That document is the birth certificate.

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.

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.

Sabi nga, 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.

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? Public or private 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, at mga reports galing sa ating mga embahada.

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.

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 the document charged by the state is always smaller than the actual total cost of acquiring it.

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 to ordinary citizens. This revolving door in getting civil registry documents must now end.

Ipasa po natin ang batas na ito.

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