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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

‘Make birth docs valid for lifetime’

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Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has filed a bill conferring lifetime validity on a birth certificate  regardless of the date of its issuance,  saying  that it’s not a perishable commodity that rots quickly.

“It is  sad that there are still many offices which asked for newly-acquired birth certificate that is an added burden to an applicant,” he said. 

The proposed measure  also mandates state agencies to accept a birth certificate provided it is not tampered with or damaged.

Recto said  his bill  will end the practice of government and private offices requiring applicants for a document, permit, service or job to present a new or recently-issued birth certificate.

To the credit of the Philippine Statistics Authority, Recto said   “it has never been remiss in explaining that birth certificates it has issued have no expiry dates, but this assurance remains unheeded in many offices which continue to require that the submitted birth certificate was issued within the past six months.” 

Birth certificates certified by the PSA are printed on security paper, otherwise known as SECPA.

“While SECPA over the years has changed in appearance to keep the proliferation of fraudulent birth certificates and identities at bay, the PSA has been emphatic in its assurance that such does not remove the validity of the birth certificate,” Recto said in the bill’s explanatory note.

In spite of this, some government agencies require applicants to submit a birth certificate that was printed on the most recent version of SECPA and issued during the last six months, Recto said.

PSA charges P155 for an authenticated copy of a birth certificate, and P365 if delivered to the home of the requesting party.

Recto believes that only a law conferring a lifetime validity on a birth certificate would stop offices from enforcing “an unnecessary, expensive and oppressive” requirement.

A provision in Recto’s bill states that a “birth certificate certified and issued by the PSA shall not expire and shall be considered valid at any time.”

The bill, however, provided exceptions to the rule such as birth records that provide administrative corrections as provided under Republic Act Nos. 9048 and 10172.

Recto said it is also high time for the government to persuade foreign embassies in the country to drop the “six month old” rule in the birth, marriage and other PSA-issued certificates they require from visa applicants. 


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