I just found out that there are erroneous details in my 5-year-old son’s birth certificate. His name was incorrectly spelled and his gender should have been male instead of female. I inquired from our City Hall and I was told that I have to file a petition for this and pay the necessary filing fees.
Should I file it before the court? Can the fees be waived because we do not have the funds to pay? I am only a housewife and my husband recently lost his job.
I hope you can advise us on what we can do to have my son’s birth certificate corrected. Thank you and warm regards.
Petitions for corrections of erroneous entries in one’s birth certificate, if the same merely involve clerical or typographical errors or a change of first name or nickname, the day and month in the date of birth or sex of a person, may be filed before the local civil registry office of the city or municipality where the record being sought to be corrected or changed is kept. If the person filing the petition has already migrated to another place in the country and it would not be practical for him, in terms of transportation expenses, time and effort to appear in person before the local civil registrar keeping the documents to be corrected or changed, the petition may be filed, in person, with the local civil registrar of the place where the interested party is residing or domiciled at present. But if he has already resided or domiciled in a foreign country, he may file the petition, in person, with the nearest Philippine Consulate (Section 1, Republic Act 10172 in relation to Section 3, RA 9048).
For the processing of the petition, the appropriate filing fees must be paid. It should be noted that under Section 8 of RA 10172, the law vests authority in the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general to collect reasonable fees as a condition for accepting such petition. Nevertheless, an indigent petitioner shall be exempted from the payment of the fees (Ibid). As defined in Rule 2.7 of Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2001 of the Office of the Civil Registrar General, an indigent petitioner refers to a destitute, needy and poor individual who is certified as such by the Social Welfare and Development (SWD) office of the city/municipal government concerned.
Accordingly, you must secure the certification of indigency from the SWD office that has jurisdiction over your place of residence if you wish to be relieved from paying the filing fees for the processing of your son’s petition for correction of entries in his birth certificate.
We also wish to emphasize that it is essential for you to attach his earliest school record or earliest school documents, if any, his medical records, baptismal certificate and other documents issued by religious authorities, a certification from the appropriate law enforcement agencies that he has no pending case or no criminal record, as well as a certification issued by an accredited government physician attesting to the fact that your son has not undergone sex change or sex transplant. The petition shall also be published at least once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation (Section 5, RA 10172).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org