Guidelines on registration of unidentified dead bodies issued-A A +A
Friday, January 20, 2012
THE National Statistics Office (NSO) has issued a memorandum to all city/municipal civil registrars regarding the applicable rules and procedures in the registration of death of unidentified/missing bodies and reconstruction of damage civil registrar records.
This came due to several issues that were raised after Tropical Storm Sendong hit Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities, damaging properties and left thousands of people dead, some of whom were still missing and unidentified.
The NSO said missing bodies can be registered at the Office of Civil Registrar (OCR) of the city/municipality where the incident occurred within 30 days from the time of death.
It said if the death of a person in transportation within the jurisdiction of the Philippines and the accident site or place where the victim was found cannot be ascertained, the Certificate of Death shall be issued by the Health Officer of the place of burial and shall be registered at the OCR of the said city/municipality.
The NSO added that if the person was buried or drowned in high seas or for any other reason and that the body was not recovered, registration shall be made at the OCR of the place of last known address of the deceased in the Philippines.
On bodies found but cannot be identified, the NSO said the health officer, upon submission of an affidavit by two disinterested persons, in the exercise of his wise discretion, may issue and cause the registration of the death certificate bearing the annotation “Body not Identified.”
It said the affidavit referred to in the statement shall contain the following information of the deceased: sex, age, features, body condition when found, date when the body was found, place the body was found and circumstances surrounding the death.
On burned or destroyed civil registry records, the NSO said it can be registered based on the owner’s personal copy issued by the civil registrar.
“To reconstruct burned or destroyed records, the Office of the Civil Registrar may request certified true copies from the Office of the Civil Registrar-General stating the year and type of documents for construction. The Office of the Civil Registrar–General shall advise the Civil Registrar as to the availability of the records and cost, and the required Requisition Issue Voucher with certification on the availability of funds duly approved by the Mayor. In case some records are not available at the Office of the Civil Registrar-General, the civil registrar shall conduct an information campaign aimed at making the public submit their individual copies of civil registry records as basis for reconstruction,” the NSO said.
On presumptive death, the NSO said as defined by law, it is not registrable.
However, it said a judicial order or decree declaring a person presumptively dead shall be registered.
In Cagayan de Oro, the Civil Registry Office was submerged in floodwaters due to “Sendong”, damaging some pertinent documents such as birth and marriage records.
Norma S. Diputado, department head of the City Civil Registrar office, said she felt dismayed after all their files since the 1940s were damaged.
Diputado said they are now in the process of identifying and sorting documents that were not greatly affected by the flash flood and called on the residents to submit copies of their documents for recording. (Michael Andrew W. Yu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 21, 2012.