ARMM’s ‘free’ birth listing law approved PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:41

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman signed into law Tuesday the “Free Birth Registration Act,” a regional law meant to hasten the documentation of children in all of ARMM’s five component provinces.

The law, dubbed Mindanao Muslim Autonomy Act 293, was principally authored by Assemblywoman Rahima Datumanong-Alba, who is representing the second district of Maguindanao in the 27-member Regional Legislative Assembly.

Hataman’s symbolic approval of MMA 293, which was enacted last month by the RLA, touted as the “little Congress” of the autonomous region, was witnessed by Regional Speaker Rasol Mitmug, Jr., Trevor Clark, who is chief of the field office here of the United Nations Children’s Fund, and Cliff Winston Albarico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Also present in the signing rite, held in Cotabato City,  were the regional director for ARMM of the National Statistics Office, Hadji Manny Pilimpinas, and Maguindanao’s provincial NSO chief, Razulden Mangelen.

Hataman told reporters the law will effectively address the non-registration of a big bulk of the ARMM’s Moro communities.

Late registrations can also be facilitated for free under the law.

“Imagine? We even have employees in the ARMM government that are already beyond retirement age, but have still been working because they don’t have authentic birth certificates to show they are already more than 60 years of age,” Hataman said.

He said they have already started removing “overage” employees from different line agencies and support offices under the Office of the Regional Governor (ORG), also known as the “little Malacañang” of the autonomous region.

Hataman said MMA 293 will require all private and government hospitals, clinics and birthing facilities to immediately document and report  any childbirth to municipal civil registry offices and local branches of the National Statistics Office.

“This law will be implemented with the help of the health and social welfare departments of ARMM,” Hataman said.

Hataman said the law assures the public of free registration of childbirth anywhere in the autonomous region, which covers the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, that are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“But this is something only genuine residents of ARMM can enjoy,” Hataman said.

Clark, whose office is engaged in various projects that benefit the region’s Muslim and Christian children, said he was delighted that the ARMM embarked on a legislation that aims to maximize the registration of childbirth in the autonomous region, in a totally cost-free process.

“We’re proud to support the implementation of this law,” Clark said.

Registration of childbirth has never been a tradition among most Moro communities in far-flung areas in the autonomous region, until the NSO-ARMM started initiating local projects, since about six years ago, meant to encourage parents to have their children documented by the registry offices in their respective municipalities.