Some people have tried to correct their birth certificate by hand, believing that it's the right thing to do, but that is certainly not the way. That would be tampering with an official document, which is punishable by law, even if done with good intention.
Under Philippine law, your legal remedy depends on the kind of error involved. If it is a mere typographical or clerical error, and it involves any of the entries below, then you can file the appropriate affidavit with the Local Civil Registrar (LCR) asking for correction:
- first name
- birth month or birth date (but not the year)
- sex / gender.
This is known as a proceeding for administrative correction of typographical or clerical errors. It is the LCR who will cause the correction to be made.
Correction of the entry for sex/gender does not refer to sex-change surgery. As mentioned, only clerical or typographical errors can be corrected, so the application must be supported with a certification from an accredited government doctor that the applicant did not undergo sex change or sex transplant. As of today, there is no law in our country allowing change of the entry for sex/gender in the birth certificate arising from sex-change surgery.
When are errors considered clerical or typographical? According to our law, these are mistakes committed in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that are harmless and innocuous, and which are visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records.
These can be corrected by the LCR based on one's affidavit and supporting documents. However, when the errors involve one's surname, birth year, legitimacy status, or nationality, these cannot be decided by the LCR; only a judge can rule on these because these are substantial matters that have far-reaching implications and therefore require presentation of evidence in court. This holds true even when the error in the spelling of a surname is merely typographical; this matter has to come before the judge.
As part of the requirements for administrative correction, you must cause a notice of your application to be published in a newspaper of general circulation at least once a week for two consecutive weeks.
You also have to present a certified copy of the registry book containing the entry sought to be corrected; at least two public or private documents showing the correct entries; and other relevant documents.
If the wrong entries pertain to one's birth month, birth date (but not the year), or sex / gender, the application must be supported with copies of the earliest school records, medical records, baptismal or other documents issued by religious authorities.
I will write another post dealing with substantial corrections.
RA 9048, RA 10172