Senate passes bill on lifetime validity of birth, death, marriage certificates

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Senate passes bill on lifetime validity of birth, death, marriage certificates
Under the bill, a “birth certificate certified and issued by the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) shall not expire and shall be considered valid at any time.”

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate passed Monday a bill that seeks to make birth, death and marriage certificates valid for life and to put an end to the “unnecessary” practice by some government agencies and private institutions of requiring that these documents be issued in the past six months.

Voting 23-0 with no abstentions, senators approved Senate Bill No. 2450 which provides for the permanent validity of birth, death and marriage certificates issued, signed, certified or authenticated by the Philippine Statistics Authority and its predecessor, the National Statistics Office.

The bill, which has also been passed by the House of Representatives in April 2021, says that these documents will forever be valid “provided that the document remains intact, readable and still visibly contains the authenticity and security features.”

“Through this, our people do not have to unnecessarily spend time and money in securing new copies of their documents,” said Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. who sponsored the bill.

While the PSA has said in a Senate hearing on this measure that the birth certificates it issues do not expire, some government agencies and private institutions still require this document to be obtained in the past six months as the security paper it is printed on changes every six months.

The measure, however, seeks to ban and punish this with jail time ranging from one month and a day to six months, or a fine of at least P5,000 to P10,000, or both. Government officials who violate the bill if passed into law will also be temporarily disqualified to hold public office.

The bill will now be deliberated on by a bicameral conference committee composed of representatives from the Senate and the House who will thresh out the differences between the measures passed by both chambers.

Aside from Revilla, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Sens. Kiko Pangilinan, Win Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva and Sonny Angara were the main authors of the measure in the Senate. Sens. Nancy Binay and Cynthia Villar were later made co-authors.

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