I am sharing with you my firsthand experience on how to correct clerical errors in a birth certificate and how it all started. Like you, as much as possible, I don’t like transacting with government offices. I don’t want to deal with the stress brought about by long lines, red tape, and unfriendly government employees. Good thing, today’s experience is not all about that!
So this is how it happened. I and my brother went to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to apply for a student driving permit. One of the requirements is a Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) copy of birth certificate. We brought the same and surprisingly, we discovered that my brother’s middle name on his birth certificate is wrongly spelled. It appears then that his middle name is different from mine. Since we applied for a one-year student driving permit, they did not issue an ID but the student permit itself carried the wrongly spelled middle name. I told my brother to correct that before he applies for a driver’s license, otherwise, his misspelled middle name will forever be appearing in his ID.
Note that a birth certificate is as important as your identity. Any error will result to endless and tiring consequences. For example, it will be difficult for you to claim social benefits from Social Security System (SSS) if your name in your SSS Personal Data Form is different from that of your birth certificate. Hence, any correction that you need to address should be done as soon as possible.
With the enactment of Republic Act 9048 in 2001, it is now easier to correct clerical errors. The said law authorizes the city or municipal civil registrar to correct a clerical or typographical error in an entry and/or change the first name or nickname in the civil register without need of a judicial order. It is administrative in nature hence it does away with the long, expensive, and usual court proceedings.
What is a clerical or typographical error?
According to R.A. 9048, a clerical or typographical error refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like, which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records. Examples of clerical or typographical errors include: first name on the birth certificate is baby boy or baby girl, wrong spelling of first name, middle name or last name, misspelled place or birth among others.
In 2012, R.A. 10172 was enacted amending R.A. 9048 which added that errors in birth date (day and month) and sex of the person can be corrected administratively.
Where should you file?
My brother’s birth place is Baguio City. Hence, his birth certificate should be corrected in the local civil registrar of Baguio City. It is located not in the City Hall but in T. Alonzo St., Barangay Alonzo, Baguio City. You can find it at the back and right side of the Baguio City Health Department. Note that you need to go to the local civil registrar where your birth was recorded or the local civil registrar of your place of birth.
What are the requirements?
Upon arriving at the Local Civil Registrar, I inquired from the security guard on duty. He told me to proceed to the third floor. Their building is spacious and there is no queue at all. I told the staff about my brother’s case. She gave me a checklist and told me that the correction can be done administratively through R.A. 9048. She required me to bring the following documents, all pertaining to the person whose name shall be corrected:
- Birth Certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority and three (3) photocopies thereof;
- Supporting papers showing the correct spelling or entry and two (2) photocopies thereof;
- Baptismal Certificate;
- Birth Certificate of sibling/s;
- Birth Certificate of mother;
- Marriage Certificate of parents;
- Diploma/Official Transcript of Records/Form 137;
- Two (2) long folders/long brown envelopes.
What other supporting documents can you bring?
It depends on what they need. There’s a list of other supporting documents which shall include:
- Employers Certification of NO PENDING ADMINISTRATIVE CASE (if working);
- Affidavit of Self-Employment/Non-employment;
- NBI or Police Clearance;
- Medical Certification issued by accredited government physician (Document owner has not undergone sex change or sex transplant);
- Medical/Hospital/Clinical records of document owner;
- Earliest School Record (Form 137);
- Marriage Certificate of Petitioner (If married);
- Birth Certificate of Petitioner or Deceased;
- Birth Certificate of children/husband/wife;
- Death Certificate of father or mother (if applicable);
- Voter’s Certification (Child/father/mother/husband/wife);
- SSS record/GSIS record/PHILHEALTH MDR/Driver’s license;
- Affidavit of discrepancy or explanation;
- Supplemental Affidavit;
- Cedula of the Petitioner or any valid ID;
Make sure that your supporting papers are clear and readable and reflect the correct entries. I presented my mom’s PSA birth certificate as a supporting document but her first name therein was kind of blurry. Because of that, they asked me to present her local civil registrar copy of her birth certificate. See, even if the issue is not my mother’s birth certificate, they still required me to present a document containing correct and clear entries.
How much will you spend for the process?
Oh well. It’s not cheap. For correction of typographical or clerical error, the filing fee is One Thousand Pesos (₱1,000.00). On the other hand, change of first name, date or month of birth and change of sex is Three Thousand Pesos (₱3,000.00). You also need to pay a Certification fee in the amount of One Hundred Eighty Pesos (₱180.00). Bring coins or more cash for photocopy.
Who can file the correction of clerical or typographical errors?
Any person of legal age, having direct and personal interest in the correction of a clerical or typographical error in an entry and/or change of first name or nickname in the civil register, may file the petition. A person is considered to have direct and personal interest when he is the owner of the record, or the owner’s spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, guardian, or any other person duly authorized by law or by the owner of the document sought to be corrected.
In short, it can be filed by the person whose birth certificate needs to be corrected provided he/she is of legal age otherwise, he/she needs to be represented by his/her parents. Your spouse, sibling, grandparents, legal guardians can also file for you. But if the person cannot personally file the same, it is best to secure a Special Power of Attorney from a lawyer authorizing someone else to do it for him/her. The person filing for someone else should also bring his/her valid ID for identification purposes.
What is the process of correcting clerical or typographical errors?
I went back after securing all documents and have it photocopied. The staff checked all my documents. Then I went to pay the fees in the cashier and photocopied the Official Receipts. After submitting all the documents, I waited for the draft of the Petition to Correct Clerical Error. I am thankful that they explained to me the Petition itself and how the process will go. They made me read and check the draft again before signing it on both pages.
The staff told me that the process will take approximately three (3) months. The petition will be signed by the Local Civil Registrar then will be sent to the Office of the Civil Registrar General and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for the annotation. Once annotated, you can now go to the PSA to get your corrected/annotated copy of your birth certificate.
What should you do while waiting?
FOLLOW-UP! It may happen that your papers will be lost in the process so there is no harm calling for follow-up. Just do it nicely.😇
Discussions in this category may vary on a case to case basis. Any information or opinion expressed is for educational purposes only. The discussions below do not establish an attorney-client relationship. The author shall not be responsible for any action or damages resulting from or related to whatever use of the information ABOVE.
The Backpacking Lawyer is a practicing lawyer and a nurse by profession in the Philippines. While she enjoys her day job, she loves traveling and sharing her adventures and misadventures with you.