• Law allows collection of fees for changes in birth certificate

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I was born in Tabaco, Albay, on August 9, 1985. Unfortunately, the person who registered my birth erroneously indicated my birth date as August 19, 1985. Such error is clearly shown by the fact that the date of registration as indicated in my birth certificate is August 15, 1985. I have also the necessary documents for my application for correction of entry, but what bothers me is the amount of P6,500 which is being charged from me in order for me to have my birth certificate corrected. I was told that the amount of P3,000 is for the filing fee, P500 for the transmission to the NSO, and P3,00 for publication. Do you think this is a fair charge?
    Cristina

    Dear Cristina,
    Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10172, which amended several provisions of R.A. No. 9048, allows the correction of clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname, the day and month in the date of birth or sex of a person, without need of securing a judicial order as it may be applied before the proper city or municipal civil registrar or consul general (Section 1, Id.).

    R. A. No. 10172 does not only provide for the requirements and procedure for the application for correction and/or change of entries, but also mentions the payment of necessary fees. Pursuant to Section 4 thereof:

    “SEC. 4. Section 8 of the Act is hereby amended to read as follows:

    SEC. 8. Payment of Fees. – The city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general shall be authorized to collect reasonable fees as a condition for accepting the petition. An indigent petitioner shall be exempt from the payment of the said fee.

    The fees collected by the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general pursuant to this Act shall accrue to the funds of the Local Civil Registry Office concerned or the Office of the Consul General for modernization of the office and hiring of new personnel and procurement of supplies, subject to government accounting and auditing rules.”

    Based from the foregoing, it is clear that the payment of filing fees is mandated by law and may be fixed by the civil registrar or the consul general. Only indigent petitioners may be exempted therefrom.

    It is worth mentioning also that under Rule 10 of Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2012 (Implementing Rules and Regulations of R. A. No. 10172), the city or municipal civil registrar (C/MCR) is authorized to collect from every petitioner P3,000 for a petition to correct the day and/or month in the date of birth or sex. An indigent petitioner is exempt from paying, provided that the petition is supported by a certification from the City or Municipal Social Welfare Office that the petitioner or document owner is indigent. There is no mention regarding the fees to be paid for the transmission to the Philippine Statistics Authority or PSA (formerly the National Statistics Office or the NSO). But you may check with the office of the C/MCR where you will be filing your petition whether it has an existing rule relative thereto.

    Insofar as publication is concerned, it bears stressing that this procedure is mandatory. According to Section 3 of R. A. No. 10172, which amended Section 5 of R. A. No. 9048, “x x x The petition for change of first name or nickname, or for correction of erroneous entry concerning the day and month in the date of birth or the sex of a person, as the case may be, shall be published at least once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. x x x” However, we believe that the amount of such publication may vary taking into consideration the rates imposed by the concerned newspaper or publishing companies.

    Ultimately, you should ask for proper receipts to be issued in your favor for the payments you will be making so that you can be assured that these fees and charges are in fact imposed by said agency and will directly be for their intended lawful purposes.

    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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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