Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid has filed a bill seeking to allow women to revert to their maiden surname without the “tedious and expensive” court process associated with it.
Lapid’s proposed Senate Bill No. 985, also known as the Reversion to Maiden Name Act, intends to empower women to be truly independent in their social and economic affairs by granting them freedom to use their maiden surname.
Under his bill, Lapid explained that in the current law, a married woman has the option to use her husband’s surname, but is not required to do so.
However, with the current regulatory setup, Lapid pointed out that there are still barriers for the exercise of this right of reversion to maiden name.
He said there are still “discriminatory policies and practices” in some government agencies which require a married woman to adopt her husband's surname in application forms and other records and even refuse to process legitimate transactions of married women who opt to use their maiden name.
Lapid added: “Ang ganitong klase ng napakahigpit na panuntunin ay nakakahadlang naman sa karapatan ng ating mga kababaihan.”
Under Republic Act. No. 8239, otherwise known as the Philippine Passport Act, a divorce decree recognized under Philippine law, a declaration of annulment of marriage or declaration of nullity of marriage is a requirement for the issuance of passports for divorced or annulled women. The same law also provides that an amendment of a woman's name on her passport may only be done based on the following grounds: death of spouse, annulment of marriage or divorce initiated by a foreign spouse.
The proposed measure intends to facilitate women’s right to revert to their surname in instances of legal separation, annulment or declaration of nullity of their marriage.
It shall also empower the office of the civil registrar, the Department of Justice, the Department of Finance, the Supreme Court and such other concerned government agencies to provide for a procedure for a woman's choice to revert to her maiden name.
Moreover, the bill shall also expand the scope of the civil registrar's power to change or correct entries in the civil register without a judicial order.
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