Civil Registration Laws and Procedures

Commonwealth Act No. 3753

Law on Registry of Civil Status

Section 1. Civil Register. – A civil register is established for recording the civil status of persons, in which shall be entered: (a) births; (b) deaths; (c) marriages; (d) annulments of marriages; (e) divorces; (f) legitimations; (g) adoptions; (h) acknowledgment of natural children; (i) naturalization; and (j) changes of name.

Section 2. Civil Registrar-General his duties and powers. – The director of the National Library shall be Civil Registrar-General and shall enforce the provisions of this Act. The Director of the National Library, in his capacity as Civil Registrar-General, is hereby authorized to prepare and issue, with the approval of the Secretary of Justice, regulations for carrying out the purposes of this Act, and to prepare and order printed the necessary forms for its proper compliance. In the exercise of his functions as Civil Registrar-General, the Director of the National Library shall have the power to give orders and instructions to the local Civil registrars with reference to the performance of their duties as such. It shall be the duty of the Director of the National Library to report any violation of the provisions of this Act and all irregularities, negligence or incompetency on the part of the officers designated as local civil registrars to the (Chief of the Executive Bureau or the Director of the Non-Christian Tribes) Secretary of the Interior, as the case may be, who shall take the proper disciplinary action against the offenders.

Section 3. Local Civil Registrars. – Except in the City of Manila, where the duties of local civil registrar shall be performed by the officer of the Philippine Health Service designated by the Director of said service, the Treasurers of the regular municipalities, municipal districts and cities shall be local civil registrars of the respective municipalities, municipal districts or cities and shall perform the duties imposed upon them by this Act without extra compensation, in addition to their ordinary duties. In his capacity as local civil registrar, the officer designated by the Director of the Health Service as local civil registrar of Manila and the treasurers above mentioned shall be under the direction and supervision of the Civil Registrar-General.

Section 4. Civil Register Books. – The local registrars shall keep and preserve in their offices the following books, in which they shall, respectively make the proper entries concerning the civil status of persons:

1. Birth and death register;
2. Marriage register, in which shall be entered not only the marriages solemnized but also divorces and dissolved marriages.
3. Legitimation, acknowledgment, adoption, change of name and naturalization register.
Section 5. Registration and Certification of Birth. – The declaration of the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or, in default thereof, the declaration of either parent of the newborn child, shall be sufficient for the registration of a birth in the civil register. Such declaration shall be exempt from the documentary stamp tax and shall be sent to the local civil registrar not later than thirty days after the birth, by the physician, or midwife in attendance at the birth or by either parent of the newly born child.
In such declaration, the persons above mentioned shall certify to the following facts: (a) date and hour of birth; (b) sex and nationality of infant; (c) names, citizenship, and religion of parents or, in case the father is not known, of the mother alone; (d) civil status of parents; (e) place where the infant was born; (f) and such other data may be required in the regulation to be issued.

In the case of an exposed child, the person who found the same shall report to the local civil registrar the place, date and hour of finding and other attendant circumstances.
In case of an illegitimate child, the birth certificate shall be signed and sworn to jointly by the parents of the infant or only the mother if the father refuses. In the latter case, it shall not be permissible to state or reveal in the document the name of the father who refuses to acknowledge the child, or to give therein any information by which such father could be identified.
Any fetus having human features which dies after twenty four hours of existence completely disengaged from the maternal womb shall be entered in the proper registers as having been born and having died.

Section 6. Death certificate and register. – No human body shall be buried unless the proper death certificate has been presented and recorded in the office of the local civil registrar. The physician who attended the deceased or, in his default the health officer concerned, or in default of the latter, any member of the family of the deceased or any person having knowledge of the death, shall report the same to the local health authorities, who shall issue a death certificate and shall order the same to be recorded in the office of the local civil registrar. The death certificate, which shall be issued by the attending physician of the deceased or, in his default, by the proper health officer, shall contain the following data be furnished by the person reporting the death; (a) date and place of death; (b) full name, (c) age, (d) sex, (e) occupation or profession, (f) residence; (g) status as regards marriage, (h) nationality of the deceased, and (i) probable cause of death.

During epidemics, bodies may be buried provided the proper death certificates have been secured, which shall be registered not later than five days after the burial of the body.

Section 7. Registration of marriages. – All civil officers and priests or ministers authorized to solemnize marriages shall send a copy of each marriage contract solemnized by them to the local civil registrar within the time limit specified in the existing Marriage Law.

In cases of divorce and annulment of marriage, it shall be the duty of the successful petitioner for divorce or annulment of marriage to send a copy of the final decree of the court to that local civil registrar of the municipality where the dissolved or annulled marriage was solemnized.
In the marriage register there shall be entered the full name and address of each of the contracting parties, their ages, the place and date of the solemnization of the marriage, the names and addresses of the witnesses, the full name, address, and relationship of the minor contracting party or parties or the person or persons who gave their consent to the marriage, and the full name, title, and address of the person who solemnized the marriage.
In cases of divorce or annulment of marriages, there shall be recorded the names of the parties divorced or whose marriage was annulled, the date of the decree of the court, and such other details as the regulations to be issued may require.

Section 8. Registration of legitimations by subsequent marriage. – The acknowledgment of the children legitimated by subsequent marriage, referred to in article one hundred and twenty-one of the Civil Code, may be recorded in the legitimation register, entering: (a) The names of the parents; (b) that at the time when the children were conceived, the aforesaid parents could have contracted marriage, and that they actually contracted marriage, stating the date and place when such marriage was solemnized, the minister who officiated, and the civil register where such marriage was recorded; (c) the names of the children legitimated with reference to their birth certificates.

Section 9. Registration of acknowledgment by public instrument. – Any voluntary acknowledgment by the natural parents or by only one of them by public instrument, shall be recorded in the acknowledgment register of the civil registrar of the municipality where the decree was issued. The names of the interested parties and such other data as may be required by the regulations to be issued shall be entered in register.
It shall be the duty of the natural parents whose voluntary acknowledgment was may be means of a public instrument to send a certified copy thereof to the local civil registrar of the municipality in the civil register whereof the birth of the acknowledged child was recorded, not later than twenty days after the execution of such instrument, for the registration thereof.

Section 10. Registrations of adoptions, changes of name, and naturalization. – In cases of adoptions, changes of name, and naturalization, it shall be the duty of the interested parties or petitioners to register the same in the local civil registrar of the municipality where the birth of the acknowledged child was registered setting forth the following data: (a) full name of the natural child acknowledged; (b) age; (c) date and place of birth; (d) status as to marriage, and residence of the child acknowledged; (e) full name of the natural father or mother who makes the acknowledgment; (f) full name of the notary public before whom the document was acknowledged; (g) full names of witnesses to document; (h) date and place of acknowledgment of said document and entry and page number of the notarial register in which the name was recorded.

Section 11. Duties of clerks of Court to register certain decisions. – In cases of legitimation, acknowledgment, adoption, naturalization and change of given or family name, or both, upon the decree which issued the decree to ascertain whether the same has been registered, and if this has not been done, to have said decree recorded in the office of the civil registrar of the municipality where the court is functioning.

Section 12. Duties of local civil registrar. – Local civil registrars shall (a) file registrable certificates and documents presented to them for entry; (b) complete the same monthly and prepare and send any information required of them by the Civil Registrar-General; (c) issue certified transcripts or copies of any certificate or document registered upon payment of proper fees; (d) order the binding, properly classified, of all certificates or documents registered during the year; (e) send to the Civil Registrar-General, during the first ten days of each month, a copy of the entries made during the preceding month for filing; (f) index the same to facilitate search and identification in case any information is required, and (g) administer oaths, free of charge, for civil register purposes.

Section 13. Documents registered are public documents. – The books making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall be considered public documents and be prima facie evidence of the truth of the facts therein contained. They shall be open to the public during office hours and shall be kept in a suitable safe which shall be furnished to the local civil registrar at the expense of the general fund of the municipality concerned. The local registrar shall not under any circumstances permit any document entrusted to his care to be removed from his office, except by order of a court, in which case the proper receipt shall be taken. The local civil registrar may issue certified copies of any document filed, upon payment of the proper fees required in this Act.

Section 14. Expenses and fees of the office of the civil registrar. – All expenses in connection with the establishment of local civil registers shall be paid out of municipal funds, and for this purpose, municipal councils and boards shall make the necessary appropriation out of their available general funds:

For the registration of documents and for certified copies of documents on file in the local civil registrar’s office, fees shall be charged in accordance with the following schedule:
For registration of legitimations P2.00
For registration of an adoption 2.00
For registration of an annulment of marriage 10.00
For registration of a divorce 10.00
For registration of naturalization 20.00
For registration of a change of name 2.00
For certified copies of any documents in the register, for each one hundred words 20.00
The Civil Registrar General or any local civil registrar may issue certified copies of documents free of charge for official use or at the request of a competent court. All fees collected for such purposes shall accrue to the general fund of the municipality concerned.

Section 15. Preservation of present register books. – All birth, death and marriage registers and other papers relating thereto at present in the keeping of the municipal secretaries or the clerk of the Municipal Court of Manila shall be transferred by the same to the officers acting as local civil registrars in each city or municipality and shall form part of the archives of the latter.

Section 16. False statement. – Any person who shall knowingly make false statement in the forms furnished and shall present the same for entry in the civil register, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one month nor more than six months, or by a fine of not less than two hundred pesos nor more than five hundred or both, in the discretion of the court.

Section 17. Failure to report. – Other violations. – Any person whose duty is to report any fact concerning the civil status of persons and who knowingly fails to perform such duty, and any person convicted of having violated any of the provisions of this Act shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten pesos nor more than two hundred.

Section 18. Neglect of duty with reference to the provisions of this Act. – Any local registrar who fails properly to perform his duties in accordance with the provisions of this Act and of the regulations issued hereunder, shall be punished for the first offense, by an administrative fine in a sum equal to his salary for not less than fifteen days nor more than three months, and for a second or repeated offense, by removal from the service.

Section 19. Application of this Act to the special provinces. – The Director of the National Library, in his capacity as Civil Registrar-General, is hereby authorized upon recommendation of the (Director of Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes) Secretary of the Interior, to designate the municipalities in the specially organized provinces where the provisions of this Act shall be applied.

Section 20. Transitory provisions. – All rights, duties and powers established by Act Numbered thirty-six hundred and thirteen, entitled the Marriage Law, with the reference to the procedure for the issuance of the marriage license prior to the solemnization of marriage, the registration, of marriages, and the filing of the documents in connection therewith, conferred and imposed by said Act upon the clerk of the Municipal Court of Manila and the municipal secretaries, are hereby transferred to the officer of the Health Service in accordance with section three of this Act, and to the municipal treasurers, respectively, in their capacity as local registrars.

All duties and powers established by subsections (d) and (e) of section twenty-one hundred and twelve of the Administrative Code, imposed and conferred by said section upon the municipal secretaries, are hereby likewise transferred to the municipal treasurers in their capacity as local civil registrars.

Section 21. All acts or parts of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

Section 22. This Act shall take effect three months after its approval.

Approved, November 26, 1930.

Civil Registration Procedures

1. What is Vital or Civil Registration?

Vital or Civil Registration is the recording in the appropriate civil registers, vital acts and events that affect the civil status of individuals.

 

2. What is vital acts and events?

Vital acts and events are the births, deaths, fetal deaths, marriages, and all such events that have something to do with an individual's entrance and departure from life together with the changes in civil status that may occur to a person during his lifetime..

 

3. What is a Registry Number?

Registry number is the sequential number indicating the order by which the document for registration is entered in the appropriate civil registry book.

 

4. What is Delayed Registration?

An act of registering a vital event that is made beyond the reglementary period of registration.

 

5. What is Live Birth?

Live Birth is a complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy, which after such separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached- each product of such birth is considered live born.

 

6. Can a fetus with a intra-uterine life of less than seven (7) months be registered as live birth?

If a fetus had an intra-uterine life of less than seven (7) months it is not deemed born if it dies within twenty-four (24) hours after its complete delivery form the maternal womb (Article 42, R. A. 386). For Statistical purposes, a Certificate of Live Birth (COLB) shall be prepared in duplicate, a copy shall be forwarded to the office of the Civil Registrar-General and the other for Civil Registrar's file.

If a fetus had an intra-uterine life of seven (7) days or more and born alive at the time it was completely delivered from the maternal womb but died later shall be considered as live birth and shall be registered in Register of Births.

 

7. What are the reglementary period and Place of Registration of Births?

The birth f a child shall be registered within thirty (30) days from the time of birth at the Local Civil Registry Office of city/municipality where the birth occurred.

 

8. Who are responsible to report the occurrence of birth to the Local Civil Registry Office?

1. When the birth occurred in the hospital or clinic or in a similar institution, the administrator thereof shall be responsible in causing the registration of such birth. However, the attendant at birth shall certify the facts of birth.

2. When the birth did not occur in the hospital or clinic or in a similar institution, the physician, nurse, midwife, 'hilot' or anybody who attended the delivery of the child shall be responsible both in certifying the facts of births and causing the registration of such birth.

3. In default of the hospital/ clinic administrator or attendant at birth, either parents of the child shall cause the registration of birth.

4. When the birth occurs aboard a vehicle, vessel, or airplane while in transit, registration of the said birth shall be a joint responsibility of the driver, captain or pilot and the parents, at the case maybe.

 

9. What are the exceptional cases for the place of registration of birth?

1. When a child is born aboard a vehicle, vessel or airplane while in transit within Philippine territory and the exact place of birth could not be ascertained, the birth shall be recorded in the civil register of the city or municipality of the mother's destination or where the mother habitually resides;

2. When the child is born aboard a vessel or airplane en route to the Philippines, the birth shall be recorded in the civil register of the city or municipality where the mother habitually resides, if she is a resident of the Philippines and if either the father or the mother or both parents are citizens of the Philippines. When the parents are both foreigners but not residents of the Philippines, the birth may be recorded in the civil register of Manila, if they so desire;

3. For delayed registration of events where the city/ municipality has been divided or integrated, the registration of birth shall be made in the mother city/ municipality, which jurisdiction over the reported place of occurrenceof birth.

 

10. What is an out-of-town reporting of Birth?

It is a reporting of birth that occurs when the Certificate of Live Birth (COLB) is presented to the civil registrar of a city or municipality which is not the place of birth, not for registration but to be forwarded to the civil registrar of the city/ municipality where the birth occurred and where it should be registered.

 

11. Who else can accept an out-of-town reporting of Birth?

Out-of-town reporting of birth may also be performed by the Civil Registrar-General or by his authorized representatives who are the Regional Directors and Provincial Statistical Officers of the National Statistics Office.

 

12. Who can apply for a person's birth certificate?

1. The concerned person himself, or any person authorized by him,

2. His spouse, his parent or parents, his descendants, or guardian of institution legally in-charge of him, if he is a minor,

3. The court or proper public official whenever absolutely necessary in administrative, judicial or other official proceedings to determine the identity of the child's parents or other circumstances surrounding his birth, and

4. In case of person's death, the nearest relative or kin.

 

13. What is Death?

Death is a permanent disappearance of all evidence of life at any time after live birth has taken place (postnatal cessation of vital functions without capability of resuscitation). (U. N. Statistical Commission)

 

14. Can an intra-uterine life of less than seven (7) months be registered?

A fetus with an intra uterine life of seven (7) months or more and born alive at the time it was completely delivered from the maternal womb but died late shall be considered as death an shall be registered in Register of Deaths.

However a fetus with an intra-uterine life of less than seven (7) months is not deemed born if it dies within twenty-four (24) hours after its complete delivery from the mother's womb. For statistical purposes, a Certificate of Death shall be prepared in duplicate an a copy of each shall be forwarded to the Office of the Civil Registrar and the Office of the Civil Registrar-General.

 

15. What are the reglementary period and Place of Registration of Death?

Registration of death shall be made in the office of the Civil Registrar of the city/ municipality where the death occurred within thirty (30) days from time of death.

 

16. What are the exceptional cases for the place of registration of death?

1. The death of a person in a vehicle, airplane or vessel while in transit within the jurisdiction of the Philippines and where the exact place of death cannot be determined, the Certificate of Death shall be registered at the Local Civil Registry Office (LRCO) of the city/ municipality of the place of burial/ cremation. If the place of burial/ cremation is outside the Philippines, the death shall be registered at the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) of Manila.

2. When a citizen of the Philippines dies aboard a vessel r airplane en route to the Philippines and the exact place of death cannot be ascertained, the death shall be registered at the Local Civil Registry Office of the city/ municipality where the person habitually resides before his death, if he was a resident of the Philippines.If the deceased is a foreigner and a resident of the Philippines, the death shall be registered at the Local Civil Registry Office where the deceased habitually resides.

3. If the deceased is a foreigner an not a resident of the Philippines, his death shall be registered at the Local Civil Registry Office of Manila.

4. The death of a person in a vehicular accident, airplane crash, or shipwreck within the jurisdiction of the Philippines and the site of the accident or the place where the victim was found cannot be determined, a Certificate of Death shall be issued by the health officer of the place of burial and shall be registered at the Local Civil Registry Office of the said city/ municipality.

5. The death person aboard a vessel in the high seas shall be registered at the Local Civil Registry Office of the place of burial upon presentation of a Certificate of Death issued by the Health Officer of the sid place, or by the ship doctor, if any. Otherwise, the ship captain shall issue and cause the registration of the death certificate.

6. If the person is buried or drowned in high seas, or for any other reason, the body was not recovered- registration shall be made at the Local Civil Registry Office of the place of last known address of the deceased in the Philippines.

7. If the deceased is not a resident of the Philippines, the registration shall be made at the Local Civil Registry Office in Manila. The ship doctor or the ship captain or other health officer, in the exercise of his wise discretion, may issue and cause the registration of the death certificate.

8. In case of mass death where several persons died due to natural calamities, accidents, epidemic, etc., the health officer may issue and case the registration of the death certificates at the Local Civil Registry Office where the mass death occurred.

 

17. Who are responsible to report the event of death?

1. It shall be the responsibility of the physician who last attended the deceased or the administrator of the hospital or clinic where the person died to prepare the proper death certificate and certify as to cause of death. The death certificate shall then be forwarded within forty-eight (48) hours after death, to the health officer who shall examine the Certificate of Death and then affix his signature in the appropriate box and shall order its registration in the Office of the Civil Registrar.

2. It shall be the responsibility of the nearest relative or person who has knowledge of the death to report the same within forty-eight (48) hours if the deceased died without medical attendance. The health officer shall examine the deceased and shall certify as to the cause of death and direct the registration of the death certificate to the Office of the Civil Registrar within the reglementary period of thirty (30) days.

3. Where death occurs in a vehicle/ vessel/ airplane, the driver/ ship captain/ pilot, as the case maybe, shall report such death to the concerned health officer. In accidents where there are no survivors, it is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle/ vessel/ airplane to make the report of death.

4. In the absence of a health officer or his authorized representative in the place of registration, or when it is a non-working day and the health officer or his authorized representative is not excepted to be in his office, the death should be reported within forty-eight (48) hours after its occurrenceby the nearest kin of the deceased or by any person having knowledge of the death to the mayor, municipal secretary, who shall issue the Certificate of Death for burial purposes.

5. The mayor, any member of the Sangguniang Bayan or the municipal secretary, as the case may be, shall sign the medical certification portion of the Certificate of Death, and the same shall be accepted for resignation by the civil registrar concerned, provided that the Certificate of Death and the Register of Deaths shall carry a remark that registration was made pursuant to Section 91 of P. D. No. 856.

 

18. What is an out-of-town reporting of Death?

It is a reporting of death that occurs when registration is not possible in the place of death and the Certificate of Death was presented to the civil registrar of the city or municipality other than the place of death, it shall be accepted by the civil registrar not for registration but to be forwarded to the civil registrar of the city or municipality, where the death occurred, for registration.

Out-of-town reporting may also be performed by the Civil Registrar-General or by his authorized representatives who are the Regional Directors and Provincial Chief Statistical Specialist of the PSA.

 

19. What is Mass death?

Mass death occurs when several persons die due to natural calamities, accidents, epidemics, etc. When the deceased cannot be identified, the health officer, upon submission of an affidavit by two disinterested persons, in the exercise of his wide discretion, may issue and cause the registration of the death certificate bearing the annotation 'Body Not Identified'.

 

20. What information shall the affidavit contain for cases of Mass Death?

The affidavit referred to in the aforementioned statement shall contain the following information:

  • Sex of the deceased;
  • Estimated age;
  • Distinguishing features;
  • Condition of the body when found;
  • Date when the body was found;
  • Place where the body was found; and
  • Circumstances surrounding the death.
  •  

21. What is Marriage?

'Marriage' is defined as a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman enetred into in accordance with the law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidence are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided in the Family Code of the Philippines.

 

22. What are reglementary period and Place of Registration of Marriage?

In ordinary marriage, the time for submission of the Certificate of Marriage is within fifteen (15) days following the solemnization of marriage while in marriages exempt from license requirement, the prescribed period is thirty (30) days, at the place where the marriage was solemnized.

 

23. Who is responsible to report the marriage event?

The solemnizing officer has the duty to report the marriage t the Office of the Civil Registrar where marriage was solemnized.

 

24. What marriages are exempted from Marriage License?

Marriage that was solemnized in accordance with Executive Order No. 209. Marriage that was solemnized in accordance with P. D. 1083 or Code of Muslim Personal Laws.

 

25. What specific Articles in EO 209 are exempted from Marriage License?

Article 27 - Incase either or both of the contracting parties are at the point of death, the marriage may be solemnized without the necessity of a marriage license and shall remain valid even if the ailing party subsequently survives;

Article 28 - If the residence of either party is so located that there is no means of transportation to enable such party to appear personally before the local civil registrar, the marriage may be solemnized without the necessity of a marriage license;

Article 33 - Marriage among Muslims or among members of the ethnic cultural communities may be performed validly without the necessity of a marriage license, provided they are solemnized in accordance with their customs, rites or practices; and

Article 34 - No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five (5) years and without any legal impediment to marry each other.