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Lesson in Philippine Documents

Lesson is in the Philippines Triple Check All Documents.

Tim Potter and Zol Potter Philippine Market
Tim Potter and Zol Potter with Philippine Market
This statement does not go with out a saying.  It took us three years to get a simple correction to our Marriage Licence to state Tim Potter and Zol Potter here in the Philippines. In Sugar Land this would have been a one trip affair to complete at the county civil registrar.  The bliss and wedding day jitters led us to over look the simplest of spelling errors.  However those two letters being inverted caused 3 years of hard work and turmoil to correct.  

Most people say how would that take 3 years to correct.  I will explain that to you.  According to Philippine Law to correct a typographical error of the first name you need the following:


The petition shall be supported with the following documents:
(1) A certified true machine copy of the certificate or of the page of the registry book containing the entry or entries sought to be corrected or changed.

(2) At least two (2) public or private documents showing the correct entry or entries upon which the correction or change shall be based; and

(3) Other documents which the petitioner or the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general may consider relevant and necessary for the approval of the petition.

Now read this and see number 3.   The Civil Registrar in the jurisdiction where you get married determines actually what documents are required.   It is 100% his or her discretion if they will accept the documents you present to them.    This for us involved getting 10 supporting documents to prove her name was actually her name.   ( Birth Certificate, Baptismal Certificate, NBI, TIN/SS, Voter Id, High School Diploma, Barangy Clearance, Tax ID, Original Marriage License, Drivers License).  

So why do you need the obvious over kill on documents.  I can only speculate on the situation after living here for the last 6 years.   The Federal Government does not trust the local Civil Registrars to complete the job beyond corruption.  Then we have the whole saving face issue and the local governments to not want to look bad in the eyes of the Federal Government.  I just firmly believe there is this lack of trust between the two government offices. ( Local and Federal).  Also if you notice I put Marriage License that was not an error.  You have two documents 1. Marriage License 2. Certificate of Marriage, our marriage license was correct with the correct spelling.  It was the certificate of marriage that was submitted to National Statistics Office (NSO) that was incorrect.  

Yet why do I say it takes three years.  Well teaching someone drive takes time and have the ability to pass the test.  Then you can only obtain certain documents during certain times.   This involves travel to all these various offices paying a fee and getting a picture.  Even when you complete all the requirements of documents.  It will take 6-9 months from the time of first filing to get a end result.  You first need approval for change then you need that change entered into the NSO system.   So what lessons can be learned is that you need to triple check everything. The last thing is keep your receipts as that is the only proof you have of anything.  They requested both the document and the official receipt we paid.   Again that lack of trust between different agencies here.  

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