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  • How to Correct Common Errors in Your Child's Birth Certificate

    Many of these may be rectified by submitting documents at the local civil registry office.
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
How to Correct Common Errors in Your Child's Birth Certificate
PHOTO BY Unsplash
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • The birth certificate is your child's first legal record to his name and acknowledges him as your son or daughter! It is perhaps the most important document of his life.

    However, in the process of filling up the birth certificate, which is usually done at the hospital where the mom gave birth, several factors come into play that could sometimes lead to erroneous information in the document. Some of the most common mistakes found in birth certificates are the following: wrong spelling of the name, missing the first name or having "Baby Boy" or "Baby Girl" as the first names (yes, it happens).

    These errors have serious repercussions, especially when it concerns a person's school and government records or when he decides to get married. (Imagine having a hit at the National Bureau of Investigation where a namesake has committed a crime!) 

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    How to correct the entries in your child's birth certificate

    The ideal scenario is you don't make a mistake in your child's birth certificate. If there is one, it is vital to have these entries corrected at the soonest time possible. Here are some of the common mistakes and what to do to fix them.

    Wrongly-spelled name

    According to the Philippine Statistics Office (PSA), the correction for a wrongly-spelled name in the birth certificate is done by filing a petition for correction of a clerical error under the provisions of Republic Act 9048, which states:

    "No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar..."

    A "clerical or typographical error" is defined as "a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like."

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    What to do:

    • Bring a PSA copy of your birth certificate and documents bearing the correct spelling of the child's name (e.g., school records, school ID, etc.) to the civil registry office where the birth is registered. You will be asked to fill up forms.
    • Pay the administrative fee of approximately Php1,500.
    • The local civil registry office will then submit a petition to the PSA for approval. 
    • Once approved, an annotation will be added to the birth certificate to reflect the changes (correct spelling of the name).
    • The whole process takes about three to four months.

    No first name / last name / middle name (legitimate children)

    To correct a birth certificate where the field for the first name or the last name of the child is left blank, the parents or guardian must file a supplemental report at the local civil registry office where the birth is registered. They must also file an affidavit stating the reasons for the missing entry. 

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    What to do:

    • Bring a PSA copy of the birth certificate to the Civil Registry office. Support your claim by bringing documents that establish the child's name (these could be ID cards, birthday photos, baptismal certificate, etc.) 
    • The administrative fee ranges from Php5,000 to Php6,000
    • The local civil registry office will then submit a petition to the PSA for approval. 
    • You will need to publish a notice in at least two publications for two weeks. 
    • Once approved, an annotation will be added to the birth certificate to reflect the changes (to include the first, middle, or last name of the child).
    • The whole process takes about three to four months.
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    No middle name (illegitimate children)

    For a child acknowledged by his father despite not being married to his mother, a supplemental report should be filed at the civil registrar so that the child could use his mother's maiden name as his middle name, and his father's last name.

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    No corrections should be made in the birth certificate of a child who is not acknowledged by his father and the field for the middle name should remain blank. 

    What to do:

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    • Bring a PSA copy of the birth certificate to the civil registry office. If the child is acknowledged by his father, bring the documents that prove Republic Act 9255 applies to your birth certificate (the birth certificate should also have an annotation if this has been done).
    • The administrative fee ranges from Php5,000 to Php6,000
    • The local civil registry office will then submit a petition to the PSA for approval. 
    • You will need to publish a notice in at least two publications for two weeks.
    • Once approved, an annotation will be added to the birth certificate to reflect the changes (to include the middle name of the child).
    • The whole process takes about three to four months

    "Baby Girl" or "Baby Boy" appears as the child's first name

    A child is usually referred to as "Baby boy" or "Baby girl" after birth if no names have been supplied yet, to indicate the gender. However, sometimes these names remain unchanged in the birth certificate by mistake. There are two ways to rectify this depending on the year the child is born:

    If born before 1993: Having "Baby boy" or "Baby girl" as entry for the child's first name will be considered an omission of the first name (or missing the first name), so you only need to file a supplemental report at the civil registry along with supporting documents to establish the child's name.

    If born in 1993 onwards: The names "Baby boy" and "Baby girl" were accepted as first names starting 1993, so to correct the entry, one may request for a change of first name or nickname under Republic Act 9048. 

    The grounds for a change of first name or nickname in the birth certificate are the following:

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    • The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce,
    • The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner, and he has been publicly known by that by that first name or nickname in the community, or
    • The change will avoid confusion.

    What to do:

    • Bring a PSA copy of the birth certificate to the Civil Registry office and apply for a change of name (you need to do this even in seemingly minor cases, as when "Ma." is to be changed to "Maria").
    • The administrative fee ranges from Php5,000 to Php6,000
    • The local civil registry office will then submit a petition to the PSA for approval. 
    • You will need to publish a notice in at least two publications for two weeks.
    • Once approved, an annotation will be added to the birth certificate to reflect the changes (to include the real first name of the child).
    • The whole process takes about three to four months

    Child is using the mother's last name, parents are unmarried

    If a child's parents are not married, yet the father acknowledges the child to be his own, the child may use his father's last name (and his mother's maiden name as his middle name) under Republic Act 9255

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    What to do: 

    • Bring a PSA copy of the birth certificate to the Civil Registry office.
    • Bring notarized supporting documents: Affidavit of Admission of Paternity,, Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father, among others.
    • The local civil registry office will then submit a petition to the PSA for approval.
    • You will need to publish a notice in at least two publications for two weeks.
    • Once approved, an annotation will be added to the birth certificate to reflect the changes (to include the child's new last name).
    • The whole process takes about three to four months
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