Civil listing for IPs pressed

A MEASURE that seeks to provide for a free and culture-sensitive civil registration system for Indigenous Peoples (IPs) nears final approval in the House of Representatives.

Waiting for third reading approval is the House Bill 7849 or the proposed “Indigenous Peoples Civil Registration System (ICPRS) Act.”

Principally authored by ANAC-IP Rep. Jose Panganiban Jr. the mandates the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), in collaboration with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIIP), National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), Philippine Association of Civil Registrars, National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and distinguished anthropologists and selected IP leaders and elders to establish an ICPRS that is free of charges and fines as well as sensitive and appropriate to the unique cultural practices and identification systems of IPs in harmony with existing civil registry laws and systems.

The measure defines IPs as a group of people or homogenous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by others, who have continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory.

The measure seeks to recognize and respect the IPs’ system of naming their members; conclusive legal effect of their tribal authorities and elders in officiating and/or dissolving marriages; and their elders, tribal doctors, or midwives as reportorial authorities in cases of birth and death of a member of IPs and Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs).

As such, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is mandated to re-design its civil registry forms appropriate to the cultures of IPs/ICCs.

Instead of issuing separate forms for the IPCRS, the PSA National Statistician shall cause the amendment of existing civil registry forms for uniformity of all civil registry documents to ensure acceptability by end-use agencies or institutions of the information contained in the documents and ease of establishing filial bonds between or among parent or parents and child. Moreover, the bill exempts IPs from the payment of all fees in the recording of their birth, marriage, and death at the Local Civil Registry (LCR) Office and such an exemption shall extend to any fine or fee for late registration.

IPs shall also be exempted from the payment of notarial fees and documentary stamp tax in cases where the recording of the birth, marriage, or death requires the execution of affidavits or sworn statements and similar documents.