Birth, death, marriage certificates valid always

SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian hailed the enactment of long-awaited remedial legislation he co-authored, granting permanent validity of live birth, death and marriage certificates.

Republic Act No. 11909 or the Permanent Validity of the Certificates of Live Birth, Death, and Marriage Act, covers live birth, death,and marriage certificates issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), its predecessor the National Statistics Office (NSO), and local civil registries. It also applies to certificates registered and issued by the Philippine Foreign Service Posts, and transmitted to the PSA.

The senator stressed that the intent of the remedial legislation is to facilitate getting vital public documents and cutting the costs of people in accessing these for various transactions.

“We should make it easier for our people to obtain important documents. That is why we pushed for having permanent validity for our birth, death and marriage certificates, so as not to burden the public in having to get them for each new requirement,” he explained in a mix of English and Filipino.

Gatchalian asserted that “regardless of the date of issuance, these certificates shall be recognized and accepted in all government or private transactions or services requiring their submission as proof of identity and legal status.”

He added, however, that these documents should “remain intact and readable, and should still visibly contain the authenticity and security features.”

At the same time, Gatchalian pointed out that the permanent validity of marriage certificates applies only when the marriage has not been judicially decreed annulled or void, as provided for under the Family Code of the Philippines or any subsequent amendatory law on marriage.

Moreover, he added, the law further provides that national government agencies and instrumentalities, government-owned and -controlled corporations, local government units, private companies, private and public educational institutions, and other non-government entities are “prohibited from requiring the submission of another or newer certificates when a valid certificate can already be presented.”

The new law was intended to “spare Filipinos from the additional expense and inconvenience of getting new copies of these documents.”

He, however, clarified that to verify the authenticity of these certificates and reports of birth, death, or marriage, the law mandates the PSA to coordinate with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to develop a civil registry database and establish a virtual viewing facility in local civil registries and in the Philippine Foreign Service Posts. Butch Fernandez