Sample Birth Certificate

Changing your registered first name here in the Philippines is now easier due to the enactment of Republic Act No. 9048 as amended by Republic Act No. 10172. Prior to the enactment of the said laws, one must undergo a costly judicial proceeding, where a petition should be first file in court and the grounds raised would be heard in a full-blown proceeding. However, at present, said change of first name may be done through the much simpler administrative process that can be accomplished without the need for lawyers.

This article discusses the methods by which you may change your first name without going through a court proceeding.

Where can you file the Petition for change of first name?

If you are Filipino who wants to change your first name, all you need to do is file a Petition to the Local Civil Registrar where your birth record is registered and being kept. If you are residing outside the Philippines, you may file the Petition in the nearest Philippine consulate.

What are the grounds for changing your first name?

Any of the following instances can be used for changing your first name through administrative process: Section 4 of R.A. 9048 enumerates the following grounds for change of First Name or Nickname:

  1. The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce.
  2. The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that by that first name or nickname in the community: or
  3. The change will avoid confusion.

The first ground is self-explanatory. Since you are given your name from your birth, you do not have the free will to choose your own name, that responsibility falls to the parents who sometimes give names that are ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to pronounce. For example, a child born during the pandemic was given the first name “COVID-19.” Said child may find his name ridiculous, and he may elect to file an administrative petition to change his first name.

For the second ground, if you have been using a different name in all your official records, such as school records, employment records, clearances, identification cards, that is different from the one recorded in your birth certificate, and you are publicly known by the community in that name, you can then choose to use that name. This is the most common ground as there are a lot of individuals who use a certain name only to discover that their Certificate of Live Birth reflects another one. Examples are from “Rudy” to “Rodolfo”; “Juan” to “Juancho”; and “Ma. Elena” to “Maria Elena”.

Lastly, the third ground simply allows you to change your first name to avoid confusion. For example, Juan Dela Cruz has a sibling named Juano Dela Cruz. Obviously, their respective names were almost similar if not for the additional letter “O” in the latter’s name. Thus, to avoid confusion, either Juan or Juano may file an administrative petition to change their name which is distinct from his brother’s name.

Now that you know the grounds, what would you do next?

  1. Prepare the petition. As defined in Section 5 of R.A. 10172, the petition for change of first name shall be in the form of an affidavit and shall contain the erroneous entries which are to be corrected or changes which are to be made.
  1. Prepare the supporting documents. The Petition shall be accompanied by the following supporting documents:
  • 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;
  • At least two (2) public or private documents showing the correct entry or entries upon which the correction or change shall be based; and
  • 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.
  1. Pay the fees. Upon completion of the petition and its supporting documents, you may now file the petition to the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general and pay the appropriate fees.

If you need help in the preparation of your petition and supporting documents please contact they attorneys at Sanchez and Cunanan Law Offices through, or at (+63)927 423-1703 or (+63)949 717-9229. Thank you.