Senate bill seeks to strengthen regulations on delayed birth registration

(GMA NEWS) A bill has been filed in the Senate which seeks to strengthen the regulations of delayed birth registration by institutionalizing its requirements and procedures.

Senate Bill 2703 or the Delayed Registration of Birth Act, which was filed by Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday, seeks to amend decades-old Act No. 3753 or the Law on Registry of Civil Status.

In his explanatory note, Estrada noted that a birth certificate should be registered within 30 days after the birth of the child but late registration is allowed subject to the submission of requirements and procedures prescribed by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Estrada cited PSA’s statement that in the past “there are instances that process of delayed registration is being abused” and that entries of Certificates of Live Births (COLBs) under delayed registration are “prone to fabrication and alteration.”

According to Estrada, this prompted the PSA and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to issue a joint memorandum circular containing the Revised Guidelines for Delayed Registration of Birth in order to “provide stringent procedures to avoid double or multiple registration” and to “ensure that birth records registered before the Local Civil Registry must contain the true identity of a person.”

“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 in filing the bill.

SB 2703 seeks to put in the law the definition of “Negative Certification of Birth Record” as provided by the PSA.

The bill also proposes the following:

  • Submission of Certificate of Marriage of the parents if the child is legitimate and birth certificate of the parents are made as a requirement not only for persons who have a foreigner as one of their parents but also for persons whose parents are both Filipinos
  • Mandatory field visit with the Office of the Punong Barangay where the child resides
  • Digital media and channels of the local civil registrar and the PSA are included as venue for the posting of the notice to the public on pending application for delayed registration
  • Six months to 12 years imprisonment and fine ranging P100,000 to P250,000 for any person who knowingly make false statement in the forms furnished and present the same for entry in the civil register

The bill was filed in light of the case of Bamban Mayor Alice Guo whose identity was questioned after she was linked in the operations of a POGO hub in her town that was raided by authorities for several alleged illegal activities.

During the Kapihan sa Senado forum, Estrada said the current law does not address issues on delayed registration.

“Walang ngipin itong existing law tungkol sa delayed registration,” he said.

(The current law has no teeth when it comes to delayed registration.)

During the Senate inquiry into the raided POGO hub in Bamban where Guo is being linked, it was disclosed that the town mayor’s birth was only registered when she was 17 years old.

Guo earlier said that her father is a Chinese citizen while her mother is a Filipino woman who was a house helper.

The PSA, however, earlier told the Senate that they have no records of Amelia Leal who was declared as Guo’s mother in her birth certificate.

It was Senator Risa Hontiveros who released documents last week showing that Wen Yi, along with the mayor’s father, Jian Zhong Guo, and siblings, are co-incorporators in Guo’s businesses.

Hontiveros also said that based on the document, Wen Yi may have given birth to Guo while she was 15 years old. —RF, GMA Integrated News