The rules and regulations governing the implementation of the law on correction of entries on birth, marriage and death certificates as provided for by Republic Act 9048 has recently been issued by the Office of the Civil Registrar-General, National Statistics Office (NSO-OCRG). The ceremonial signing of NSO-OCRG Administrative Order No. 1 Series of 2001 was held at the Multi-Purpose Hall of the Department of Justice in the presence of Valenzuela Congressman Magtanggol Gunigundo I, who was among the principal authors of the law. Others who witnessed the event were civil registrars from the National Capital Region, presidents of the 16 regional associations of civil registrars, officials and representatives from concerned government agencies and the media.
Republic Act 9048, "An Act Authorizing the City or Municipal Civil Registrar or the Consul General to Correct a Clerical or Typographical Error in an Entry and/or Change of First Name or Nickname in the Civil Register Without Need of a Judicial Order Amending for the Purpose Articles 376 and 412 of the Civil Code of the Philippines", was signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on March 22, 2001. The law now allows the correction of clerical or typographical errors in any entry in civil registry documents, except those involving the change in sex, age, nationality and status of a person, to be done administratively by the local civil registrars, consul generals and circuit registrars of shari’a courts. Likewise, the law allows the change of a person’s first name in his/her civil registry document under certain grounds specified under the law through administrative process. This means that the petitioner is provided with an option not to go through court which involves tedious, time-consuming and expensive litigations. All other petitions not covered by the law will still be processed under the usual court procedures. All decisions made by the local civil registrars, consul generals and shari’a circuit registrars will be subjected to a review process at the OCRG which, under the law, is bound to exercise the power to impugn such decisions by way of an objection.
Pursuant to Section 10 of RA 9048, the NSO-OCRG is directed to issue the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) in consultation with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Office of the Supreme Court Administrator (OSCA), University of the Philippines Law Center (UPLC) and Philippine Association of Civil Registrars (PACR) within three months after effectivity of the said law.
After several consultation sessions with the members of the inter-agency committee, the IRR was finalized by the NSO-OCRG through the issuance of AO1 series of 2001 and presented for signing. Signatories to the IRR included Ms. Carmelita N. Ericta, OIC-Civil Registrar General of NSO-OCRG; Atty. Antonio A. Abanilla, Assistant Chief State Counsel of DOJ; Atty. Franklin M. Ebdalin, Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs of DFA, represented by Atty. Antonette Mendoza; Atty. Wilhelmina D. Geronga, OIC-Chief of the Legal Office of OSCA; Atty. Gisella Dizon-Reyes, Law Reform Specialist V of the UPLC; and Mr. Ramon M. Matabang, President of PACR.
OIC Ericta, in her message after the signing ceremonies, said that the passage of "clerical error law" and the issuance of its implementing rules and regulations have paved the way for empowerment and effective governance. According to her, the law will greatly benefit many Filipinos who, instead of investing time, effort and resources in litigations and court proceedings just to correct one misspelled letter in their civil registry document, can now do the process administratively at their nearest local civil registry office, shari’a court or Philippine consulate if abroad. The IRR will take effect on August 16, that is, 15 days after its publication in Philippine Star. She also added that the NSO-OCRG is currently preparing the manual of instructions for the proper and uniform implementation of the law by local civil registrars, consul generals and shari’a district or circuit court registrars. A series of training on RA 9048 and its IRR, which will start within the month of August, will be conducted by the OCRG. Soon after the training, the public can already avail of the benefits of the said law.