A new bill filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto seeks to give “lifetime validity” to birth certificates and mandates government agencies to accept a birth certificate regardless of when it was issued.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the birth certificates issued by their department do not have expiration dates. However, Sen. Recto has said that the reason he filed the bill is that he wants to 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.
Under the proposed bill, a “birth certificate certified and issued by the PSA shall not expire and shall be considered valid at any time.”
Exceptions to the rule include birth records that provide administrative corrections as provided under Republic Act Nos. 9048 and 10172. If your name is misspelled on your birth certificate, or your birth date is wrong, you would need to request for a new birth certificate.
Giving credit to the PSA, Recto said the agency “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 known as SECPA. This paper changes over time in order to lessen falsification of documents. However, birth certificates printed on old SECPA are still valid, said the PSA in a press statement.
“The facts of birth contained in the ‘old SECPA’ is still the same and does not expire unless there have been authorized annotations,” clarified the PSA.
However, some government agencies and private companies 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.
Those who would like to request a birth certificate may do so online. According to the PSA website, birth, marriage, and death certificates cost Php330 each, including application and delivery. But Recto says this provides unnecessary burden to the applicant.
“Hindi naman ‘yan ulam o sardinas na napapanis,” Recto said. “Kaya nakakalungkot na marami pa ring mga opisina na ang gusto ay bagong kuhang birth certificate, na isang pahirap sa isang aplikante,” said the senator.
The Senate president believes that only a law that mandates the lifetime validity of a birth certificate would be able to stop offices from enforcing “an unnecessary, expensive, and oppressive requirement.” He adds that it is time for the government to persuade foreign embassies in the country to waive the “six-month-old rule” in the birth, marriage and other PSA-issued certificates they require from visa applicants.