Ballot boxes containing certificates of canvass and election returns arrive at the House of Representatives on Monday morning. Senators and Representatives are set to hold a joint session on Tuesday to canvass votes for presidential and vice-presidential candidates. (MNS photo)

 

MANILA, May 23 (Mabuhay) –The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a measure conferring permanent validity on birth, death, and marriage certificates.

Voting 21-0-0, the senators approved Senate Bill 2450 or the Permanent Validity of the Certificates of Liver Birth, Death, and Marriage Act.

Under SB 2450, certificates of live birth, death, and marriage issued, signed, certified or authenticated by the Philippine Statistics Authority and its predecessor, the National Statistics Office, and the local civil registries shall have permanent validity regardless of the date of issuance and shall be recognized and accepted in all government or private transactions or services requiring submission thereof, as proof of identity and legal status of a person.

The bill, however, requires that the document “remains intact, readable, and still visibly contains the authenticity and security features,” and without prejudice to an administrative and judicial correction that may be conducted pursuant to Republic Acts No 9858, 9048, 10172, and 9255.

Further, the bill states that the permanent validity of Certificates of Marriage is applicable “only in an instance where the marriage has not been judicially decreed annulled or declared void ab initio as provided for under the Family Code of the Philippines or any subsequent amendatory law on marriage.”

Should the texts on the certificate appear illegible, or an administrative correction or a judicial decree has been approved, the concerned person shall submit the new, amended, or updated certificate.

This provision will also apply to reports of birth, death, or marriage registered and issued by the Philippine Foreign Service Posts, and transmitted to the PSA.

Also included in the measure is a provision banning all government offices, private companies, schools and non-government entities from requiring newly-issued birth, death or marriage certificates from those transacting business with them.

Once enacted into law, a punishment of one to six months imprisonment or a fine of not less than P5,000 but not more than P10,000, or both at the discretion of the court, shall be meted to any person who will be found guilty of violating this law.

“If the violation is committed by a public official or employee, an accessory penalty of temporary disqualification to hold public office shall likewise be imposed,” the bill states.

In his manifestation after the approval of the bill, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., sponsor of the bill, said through the measure, “our people do not have to unnecessarily spend time and money in securing new copies of their documents.”

Revilla mentioned several government agencies and private organizations which still require these documents using the latest security paper which costs the applicant around P155 for an authenticated copy and P365 when delivered at their personal address.

“There are instances that applicants are required to submit birth certificates issued within the past 6 months. For them to get these documents, Filipinos need to spend time and money. This is especially unfair to those who are first-time jobseekers,” Revilla said.

Named as co-authors of the measure are Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senators Francis Pangilinan, Win Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar and Nancy Binay. (MNS)

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