Jinggoy wants stricter policies on delayed filing of birth certificates

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada on Tuesday, June 4 pushed for the  bill  that would strengthen the system of filing of birth certificates in the country, noting how delayed registration of such documents have been abused. 

Estrada said passage into law of Senate Bill No. 2703 or the proposed “Delayed Registration of Birth Act” would give “teeth” to the existing laws on birth registration. 

“We want to introduce amendments to the existing laws. Because the penal clause on the existing clause (on late birth registration) is only P200. We increased it to P100,000 to P250,000. That is also to make it attuned to our times,” Estrada said in Filipino during a Kapihan sa Senado forum.

“So this would add more teeth to it, especially if you violate this proposed law,” the senator said.

Estrada’s filing of SB No. 2703 stemmed from the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality’s investigation into the illegal activities of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in the country. 

During the hearing, senators grilled Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Leal Guo over questions regarding her birth documents and questioned the timing of its filing, after she testified that her father registered her birth when she was already 19 years old. 

Guo, who had denied any links with the POGO companies raided by law enforcement authorities in her town, insisted she is a Filipino and not Chinese and is not a spy for Beijing. The mayor testified her father, Angelito Guo, is Chinese, while her mother is a Filipino who worked as a helper in their farm in Tarlac.

However, documents obtained by Senate committee from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) showed the probability that her biological mother is Chinese. Documents also showed she has other siblings who also bear Chinese citizenship.

In the explanatory note of his bill, Estrada said the measure seeks to institutionalize the requirements and procedures embodied in the Revised Guidelines for Delayed Registration of Birth by incorporating the same in Republic Act No. 3753. 

He also said the bill also provides “stricter penalties for those who will declare false statements in the birth certificate that will be registered late.”

While birth certificate should be registered within 30 days after the birth of the child, late registration is allowed subject to the submission of requirements and prescribed procedures as provided under the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) guidelines.

But the PSA itself noted “there are instances that process of delayed registration is being abused.”

“Through this measure, the procedure for the delayed registration of birth will be more effective and will ensure that the birth certificates are genuine and truthful representation of the identity of the person,” Estrada said.