Errors in your birth certificate can be painstaking. In other cases, you need to have a judicial order or court hearing to have these errors corrected. However, some errors are considered as minors under relevant laws and thus, would only require an administrative process to rectify. These errors are legally called clerical or typographical errors.
Of course, correcting a clerical or typographical error in your birth certificate is still essential in securing critical documents and complying with specific requirements that require proof of identification. As an example, your school records need to match the name, date of birth, and place of birth stated in your birth certificate.
Some government offices might not issue you certain documents if there are discrepancies in your birth certificate, or between the data in that certificate and other identification documents. As an example, the Department of Foreign Affairs would not issue you a passport even if a single detail in your birth certificate fails to match with the corresponding detail in your proof of identification.
Defining Clerical and Typographical Errors According to the Law
Clerical and typographical errors in the birth certificate are minor errors. Republic Act No. 9048 has initially defined the scope of these errors to only include “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.”
However, Republic Act No. 10172 amends Republic Act No. 9048 and expands the scope and thus, the definition of clerical and typographical errors to cover misspelled name or misspelled place of birth, mistake in the entry of day and month in the date of birth or the sex of the person.
The specific law defines a clerical or typographical error as “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, mistake in the entry of day and month in the date of birth or the sex of the person 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.”
Take note that both laws R.A. 9048 and R.A. 10172 apply not only to birth certificates but also to marriage certificates or any other data or details entered in the civil register and thus, documents produced by the civil registry.
The Steps in Correcting a Clerical or Typographical Error in Your Birth Certificate
Below is a concise guide to correcting a clerical or typographical error in your birth certificate without needing a judicial order or court hearing. As noted above, this guide is also applicable in the correction of your marriage certificate.
• Step 1: Prepare all the required documents. It is better to prepare both original copies and at least two photocopies of each document. As an additional pointer, you can call your municipal or city civil registrar to ask for clarifications.
• Step 2: Go to the municipal or city registrar where your birth record was registered. This information is located on the upper left corner of your birth certificate. Tell the officer that you will be petitioning for a correction in your birth certificate.
• Step 3: Wait for your turn for the pre-interview. The pre-interview involves simple questions about your petition, as well as a thorough review of the required documents you have brought with you.
• Step 4: The civil registrar will start evaluating and completing your petition after the pre-interview. You might be called back for additional concerns. Also, note that the completion of the petition varies. In cities such as Manila, it can take up to 4 months, but in other municipalities, it can take at least 2 weeks.
Documentary Requirements for Correcting Minor Errors in Your Birth Certificate
The following are the general documentary requirements:
• Birth Certificate: 1 certified true copy and 1 photocopy of your birth certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority or a local copy from your civil registrar.
• Personal Records for Reference: 1 original copy and 2 photocopies of two of the following personal records: baptismal certificate, elementary or high school diploma or college transcript of records, and voter’s registration record or voter affidavit.
• Supplementary Records: In case one of the two personal records are lacking: 1 original copy and 1 photocopy of GSIS/SSS record, certificate of land title, business registration documents, passbook bank account, and insurance policy, among others.
• Valid Identification: 1 original and 2 photocopies of your valid ID to include any other government-issued IDs, school ID, and company ID; and if someone is transacting on your behalf, 1 original and 2 photocopies of his or her valid ID along with a copy of your ID and a signed special power of attorney.
Additional specific documentary requirements for specific corrections:
• Correction of Name: For correction of name due to clerical or typographical error, 1 original copy and 1 photocopy of NBI clearance and PNP clearance secured within the last three months.
• Correction of Place of Birth: Two latest copies of certification from the hospital or clinic indicating the exact address of the hospital or clinic; or barangay certification if the hospital or clinic has moved out or has already closed.
• Correction of Date of Birth: Personal records and/or supplementary records would suffice as long as they indicate your date of birth.
FURTHER READINGS AND REFERENCES
- Republic of the Philippines. 2012. Republic Act No. 10172. Fifteenth Congress of the Philippines. Available online
- Republic of the Philippines. 2000. Republic Act No. 9048. Eleventh Congress of the Philippines. Available online