I read on the Internet very often about name issues in the Philippines. No, I am not talking about names that are strange to us, I’m not talking about funny nicknames. I am talking today about Philippine Birth Certificates. I see on blogs, and read on various e-mail lists people saying that there is a problem for their wife or loved one because the name on their birth certificate does not match what their real name is.
Frankly, I don’t see what the big deal is.
Anybody who says that the name on the birth certificate doesn’t match what the girl’s real name is, is simply wrong. The real name is the name that is on the birth certificate. Let’s look at Feyma as an example. Feyma has been called Feyma all of her life. However, the name on her birth certificate is Maria Pima. Pima instead of Feyma.
But, it is generally the same for us westerners. Almost everybody calls me Bob. On my birth certificate, though, it says “Robert”. Bob is my nickname, no big deal. All of my official documents say Robert, even though I am commonly called Bob.
What I hear from people is that they are preparing to file a Visa petition, and they first have to file a petition in the Philippines to get the birth certificate changed to get the right name on it. Why? When I filed for Feyma’s Visa to come to the USA, I filed it under her birth certificate name, “Pima.” No, nobody ever called her that name, but that is the name that is officially registered with the Government, so for any official paperwork, that is the name to be used. No, I didn’t file a case in court to change her birth certificate to Feyma, I just filed for her Visa under the official name. The girl should also file for her passport or any other such documents under her birth certificate name. Problem solved. No cases to file.
The problem is that it is actually quite common in the Philippines for the birth certificate to show a name other than the name that has been used for the person all of their life. In Feyma’s case, she told me that when her Dad went to register the birth at the Government office, he forgot the exact spelling of her name that they had agreed on, and thus it was recorded in a way different from what was used. This is a very common problem in the Philippines. But, same thing in the States, although I was called “Bobby” when I was a little kid, that certainly was not recorded on my birth certificate.
So, when it comes to issues like this, my advice is to just use common sense. The name that you call somebody does not have to mach what their official name is. I’m pretty sure a lot of people call me names that would never be recorded on my birth certificate!