I spent about two hours trying to google the laws regarding the use of middle name for a Filipino child out of wedlock. I read almost all related results that emerged but nothing has directly answered my question. What middle name should an illegitimate child use?
The use of middle names does vary from one place to another and thus laws regarding the legalities of its use vary as well. In the Philippines, the middle name is used exclusively to refer to the mother's maiden surname. For example, in the name "Juan Miguel Batumbakal dela Cruz", the name "Batumbakal", his mother's maiden surname, is his middle name. For a legitimate child, it is of everyone’s knowledge that the child automatically bears the surnames of the father and the mother; the father’s surname becomes the child’s surname and the mother’s surname becomes the child’s middle name. However, it is not of everyone’s awareness the issues regarding which middle name an illegitimate child is entitled to use. And sadly, more and more brave women found themselves confused and misguided when the day comes that they have to register their child. [I use brave to refer to women who freight not with the responsibilities of raising a child alone otherwise called single moms].
I have heard two cases of filipino single moms working abroad who, after they received the birth certificate for their babies issued by the hospital where they had the delivery, and after they had the birth certificate translated from the local language e.g. Thai into English, and they were ready to apply for their child’s passport, only then they were informed by the Philippines embassy that they had to reprocess everything. It is because the birth certificates reflect both the middle name and the surname of the mother. The embassy says that the child can only use the mother’s surname but not her middle name otherwise that would mean that they are siblings. Thus the question: How are we supposed to know? Is there anywhere we could get informed that we ought to leave the middle name for our babies blank?
As I did my research, I found that most of the Philippines legal articles related to this matter that are available online discuss about which surname should illegitimate children use but are silent about which middle name should these children use [for examples, check here and here].
IS IT ALLOWED THAT THE MIDDLE NAME OF THE CHILD MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE AN ENTRY?
The item on the middle name may or may not have an entry. However, if there is an entry may be any of the following:
1. The mother’s maiden surname, if the child is legitimate;
2. The mother’s middle name, if the child is illegitimate, was born before August 3, 1988 and was acknowledged only by the mother;
3. The mother’s middle name, if the child is illegitimate and was born on or after August 3, 1988;4. The father’s middle name, if the child is illegitimate and was acknowledged only by the father;
5. The mother’s middle name, if the child is illegitimate and neither parent acknowledged the child.
This will make a good debate. Are single parents forced by the Philippines law to leave the middle name empty or are they given a choice?
More women today realize that it is better to raise a child alone rather than being trap in a relationship that does not reciprocate everything that she needs and gives. Therefore I believe that the government should start to orient women about legal issues that would guide them in preparing for their child’s future starting from the birth certificate. More information and resources should be made available to them.
I am still not resolved about this matter. If you have any information that would be of help to this campaign, I would love to hear.