Remote Mindanao towns receive equipment to digitize birth certificates

Remote Mindanao towns receive equipment to digitize birth certificates

By: - Reporter / @luisacabatoINQ
/ 12:34 PM February 13, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Local government units in remote areas of Mindanao have received equipment for digitizing birth certificate registration for their residents, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said on Tuesday.

These municipalities are situated in Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

READ: Senate approves bill on permanent validity of birth, death, marriage certificates


Additionally, a total of 1,377 Sama Bajau and unregistered children affected by forced displacement due to armed conflict, along with their families, received their birth certificates last year.


These initiatives were facilitated by UNHCR, Unicef, and the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) of the UN Refugee Agency.

Since 2019, over 4,000 individuals in conflict-affected and displaced areas have obtained birth certificates as a result of these efforts.

“Having a birth certificate facilitates the processes towards gaining nationality, which is a fundamental right of every human being. UNHCR is grateful for the continued cooperation of all our partners in the #IBelong Campaign efforts,” said UNHCR Philippines Head of National Office, Maria Ermina Valdeavilla-Gallardo, in a joint press release with Unicef.

Meanwhile, Unicef Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov highlighted that aside from giving children the right to a name and nationality, birth certificates also “protect children from being trafficked, recruited into conflict, forced in child labor, and being separated from their families.”

Birth certificates are essential for the government to develop effective plans and allocate resources for children, the UNHCR and Unicef said.

This would also ease their access to education, health care, livelihood, and other social services, it added.


In addition to equipment for digitization, the groups also provided advocacy campaign materials that highlight the importance of birth registration.

Furthermore, the Bangsamoro Youth Commission and other youth networks organized advocacy activities on birth registration in the municipalities.

“Our local civil registrars have received training, and the municipality has also been given equipment to digitize the processing of birth certificates. These documents are critical for availing social services from different agencies,” said Minister Raissa Jajurie of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Ministry of Social Services and Development.

Mayor Moner Manisan of Tabuan Lasa, Basilan also expressed gratitude for the support, stating, “Previously, only about 20% of Tabuan Lasa’s population had access to birth registration, being one of the most remote municipalities. Now, we envision immediate birth registration as a long-term program, ensuring newborns are registered soon after birth.”

Municipal Civil Registrar Muayzin Kuhutan from Maimbung in Sulu noted that the initiative successfully reached populations like the Sama Bajaus.

Sama Bajau is an ethnic group that is “at risk of statelessness due to their itinerant lifestyle, frequent border crossings, and generations of non-registration of birth.”

The UNHCR and Unicef then vowed to continue their efforts to reach more populations at risk of statelessness in 2024.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

READ: House passes bill seeking permanent validity of birth, death, marriage certificates

TAGS: birth, Mindanao, UNICEF

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.