Senate bill sets stricter rules for late birth registration

(PNA) MANILA – A bill seeking to institutionalize the requirements and procedures of delayed registration of birth was filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday.

Senate Bill No. 2703 or the Delayed Registration of Birth Act will likewise impose stricter penalties for false statements.

“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 his explanatory note.

Data culled by Estrada’s office showed 3.7 million Filipinos have no birth certificates for various reasons like high cost, lack of time, unawareness of the necessity to register the birth or complications in the relationships surrounding the child.

“Such prevalence of unregistered individuals is considered by the United Nations Children’s Fund as a scandal of invisibility,” Estrada said.

Estrada said late registration is prone to abuse, leading to the issuance of revised guidelines to prevent double registrations and ensure accurate birth records.

The bill used as basis Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-01 or the Revised Guidelines for Delayed Registration of Birth issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Oct. 18, 2021.

The proposed guidelines for delayed registration are submission of marriage certificate of parents, if the child is legitimate; and birth certificate of the parents not only if one of the parents is a foreigner but also for parents who are both Filipino citizens; mandatory field visit of the Office of the Punong Barangay (village chief) where the child resides; digital media and channels of the local civil registrar and the PSA are included as venues for the posting of the notice to the public on the pending application for delayed registration; and imprisonment of six months to 12 years and fine ranging from PHP100,000 to PHP250,000 for any person who knowingly makes false statement.

For regular registration, the law mandates that the declaration of birth must be sent to the local civil registrar not later than 30 days after the birth by the physician or midwife in attendance of the birth or by either parent of the newly born child.

Among the data indicated are date, hour and place of birth, gender and nationality of the infant; names, citizenship and religion of parents or the mother alone if the father is unknown, did not acknowledge the child or for some other reason; and civil status of parents. (PNA)