Tell it to SunStar: A barrier to education, employment

Tell it to SunStar
Tell it to SunStarSunStar file photo

By BHW Party-list Rep. Angelica Natasha Co

As the chair of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children, I am deeply invested in the passage of House Bill 9572. The absence of birth certificates deprives children of opportunities to pursue college education, secure future employment, and access government assistance, ultimately jeopardizing their welfare.

The public services to record any kind of civil status should be 100 percent free of charge. Late registration of birth, death, marriage, and adoption is prevalent nationwide. These all involve civil registry records, and all of them involve proof of citizenship, which must be basic in every country.

This recordkeeping should not only be for purposes of distribution of government aid. This kind of recordkeeping and proper security access is necessary for responding to domestic violence, ensuring the protection and promotion of residents’ rights and welfare, and also for Katarungang Pambarangay purposes and other legal proceedings, whether civil, criminal, or administrative.

Much of the country’s civil registries at city halls and municipal halls are still in paper form and vulnerable to destruction by fire, floods, earthquakes, insect infestation, heat, and moisture.

Marriage certificates, death certificates, and birth certificates are also not recorded in a timely way in the city or municipal records. There is a significant time delay between the date of the actual marriage and the recording of the marriage in the city or municipal records.

Every barangay, city, and municipality must have complete and updated records on their residents’ civil status and residents who are senior citizens, PWDs (persons with disability), solo parents, and household help or staff. The records can be physically located and secured at the barangay hall with electronic copies and hard copies furnished the city

or municipality.

The local government unit (LGU) and national repositories are important because when the household or couples change residence or when they change their status for any reason, their record should follow them everywhere and can be accessible anywhere by them and by persons with proper access clearance levels.

Establishing the comprehensive registries and interconnecting their databases will require significant public investment spanning multiple years. The database will be of valuable use for national and local planning purposes by all instrumentalities of government.

Migration of married couples is also a factor. The migration is not recorded and the records are not copy furnished to the LGU of new place of residence and the old place of residence. Spouses can also get married in a location other than where they were residents before they got married, and when this happens, their civil registry records in the place of birth are not updated promptly or not at all.


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