Archive for February, 2018


What is the SSS?

Feb 28

If you are graduating from college in a few months or have just recently started applying for a job, you are most likely to apply for your very own SSS membership.  Like what I said in my previous entry, for the young and the restless, an SSS number is nothing more than a pre-employment requirement that needs to be accomplished and submitted.  I had to learn the facts on my own and when I did, I was thankful I worked on my membership at an early age and have not neglected to pay my contributions ever since.

What exactly is the SSS and how much of your income should go to it?  Is it really wise to invest in it now while you’re young or would you much rather put your hard-earned money in a private life insurance firm that secures both you and your dependents?

Find the answers to these questions, and more, as I share to you what I’ve learned over the years about SSS and why it is considered one of the most important memberships and investments you should have.

What is the SSS?

The Social Security System (SSS) is an insurance program mandated by the Philippine government to cover all income earners in the private sector.  Government employees are covered by GSIS but also have the option to voluntarily contribute to the SSS.

How much should I be paying SSS, whether I am an employed member or a voluntary member?

It really all depends on your compensation.

An employed member must be contributing 11% of the monthly salary credit, not exceeding P16,000.  The amount is shared by the employee and his employer in the following rates:

  • Employer – 7.37%
  • Employee – 3.63%

Example:

Monthly salary: P30,000

Contribution is based on: P16,000 (highest monthly salary credit)

Amount to be paid by EMPLOYEE to SSS: P581.30

Amount to be paid by EMPLOYER to SSS: P1,208.70

Your TOTAL CONTRIBUTION SHOULD BE: P1,790 per month

Self-employed and voluntary members must contribute at a rate of 11% of the monthly salary credit which is then based on the monthly earnings declared at the time of registration:

  • OFWs – MSC is P5,000
  • Non-working spouses – MSC is based on 50% of the working spouse’s last posted monthly salary credit, but not lower than P1,000.

What is compulsory coverage and who are under this type of coverage?

Compulsory coverage is the mandatory registration of employees, employers, and self-employed persons with the SSS.

They are the following:

Employer (ER) – any person who pays for the services of another person for his business, trade, industry, or undertaking.

Employee (EE)

  • A worker in the private sector, whether permanent, temporary, or provisional, and not over 60 years old;
  • A house helper who is not over 60 years old;
  • A seafarer, upon signing of the standard employment contract and actual deployment by the manning agency and the foreign principal;
  • A worker of a foreign government or international organization, or its wholly-owned instrumentalities, with an approved Administrative Agreement with the SSS.

Self-employed (SE)

  • Anybody who is engaged in trade, business, or occupation but is not employed by anyone other than himself;
  • Derives an income of at least P1,000 a month from his/her physical and mental efforts, and
  • Is not over 60 years old.

Tomorrow we shall feature voluntary membership, insurance coverage, and the contribution table for 2017.  Stay tuned!

If you have any questions about your SSS membership, send us a message and we will do our best to find the answers for you.

Reference: www.sss.gov.ph

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Feb 27

When I first got my SSS number, I just thought I had one pre-employment requirement accomplished successfully.  I was just happy to be able to submit my SSS number to the HR department of my first-ever job and that was it.   Little did I know that my 10-digit SSS number would be my lifetime identification with the Social Security System and would be my ticket to various benefits that I would need as I traipsed my way into adulthood.

So if you are adulting (as most fresh graduates and young professionals like to call it these days), I am pretty sure you will find this article helpful.  This is a summary of the benefits you can get (and are entitled to!) as a member of the Social Security System.  Yes, you don’t just look forward to your pension (which, at this point, is probably one of the strangest things you’ll hear) from SSS because there are a lot of other benefits you can avail from the agency while you are still an active, contributing member.

  1. Sickness Benefit

You will get sick and sometimes, you will require more than just bed rest and time off of your laptop.  You might get injured while working on a project.  You might need to have some bladder stones removed.  Should any of these happen (we hope not!), you can get a daily cash allowance from the SSS to compensate the days you were not able to go to work.

Conditions: Your confinement should last for at least four days and all your company sick leaves should already be maxed out (so yes, it has to be a serious illness).  And when SSS checks your contributions, you should have at least made three months’ worth of contributions within the last 12 months prior to your confinement.

How much can you get? The daily allowance is equivalent to 90% of your average daily salary credit.

  1. Maternity Benefit

Whether you gave birth or had a miscarriage, you are entitled to SSS maternity benefits in the form of daily cash allowance.

Conditions: You should have at least three months’ work of contributions within the last 12 months prior to confinement.

How much can you get? The daily allowance is equivalent to 100% of your average daily salary credit.  If you gave birth through normal delivery or had a miscarriage, this will be multiplied by 60 days.  If you had a cesarean section, this should be multiplied by 78 days.

  1. Disability Benefit

This applies whether you’ve been partially or totally disabled.  This may be in the form of a monthly pension or a lump sum amount.

Conditions: You should have at least a month’s contribution before the semester of disability.  How do you know whether you should receive a monthly pension or the lump sum amount?

If you made at least 36 monthly contributions and all these are acknowledged by the SSS, you will get the monthly disability pension.  Otherwise, you get the lump sum amount.

How much can you get? Monthly disability pension ranges from P1,000 to P2,400 and a monthly supplemental allowance of P500, depending on your years of service.

  1. Death Benefit

If you are the beneficiary of a deceased SSS member, you may receive a monthly pension or a lump sum amount, depending on whether you are a primary or a secondary beneficiary.

Primary beneficiaries are the spouse and dependent children of the deceased SSS member.  Secondary beneficiaries are dependent parents.

Conditions: If the member made at least 36 monthly contributions, the beneficiaries will receive a monthly death pension.  If the contributions are lower than 36 months, the beneficiaries get a lump sum amount.

How much will the beneficiaries get?  The monthly death pension ranges from P1,000 to P2,400, depending on the deceased member’s years in service.  If the member has dependent minor children, they will get a pension equivalent to 10% of the member’s monthly pension or P250, whichever is higher.  They also get a 13th-month pension every December.

  1. Funeral Benefit

An individual is entitled to claim the funeral benefits if he or she shouldered the burial expenses of a deceased SSS member.

Conditions: You should have at least one contribution if you are a voluntary, self-employed, or OFW member.  Employees automatically get funeral benefits as long as they are covered by their employers.

Amount: The amount ranges from P20,000 to P40,000 depending on the member’s contributions and years of service.

  1. Employees’ Compensation (EC) Program

Employees who acquire a sickness or injury, leading to their permanent disability or death, due to their profession are entitled to cash benefits from the EC Program.

Conditions: The injury, sickness, or death shall undergo evaluation and should the EC find that these were caused by intoxication, negligence, and self-harm, the member shall not qualify for the EC Program.

Amount: SSS shoulders the medical services, appliances, and rehabilitation services of the injured employee.  This benefit may coincide with the SSS sickness and disability benefits; this means that the EC does not supersede whatever other benefits the employee is entitled to from SSS.

  1. Salary Loan

Thinking of getting your mom an automatic washing machine?  You can by applying for a salary loan with the SSS.

Conditions: You will qualify for the SSS salary loan if you have at least six months’ worth of contributions within the last 12 months.  The SSS will determine your loan payments depending on the contributions you have made.

Amount: The loan is equivalent to your average salary credits in the last 12 months.  An interest rate of 10% per year will be applied to the principal amount.  You may renew your loan after you have paid off at least 50% of the original amount.

  1. P.E.S.O Fund

P.E.S.O stands for Personal Equity and Savings Option.  It is a program of the SSS that provides members with additional savings options, especially to those who are capable of contributing more than the required rates of employed and voluntary members.

Conditions: You should not be older than 55 years old and have at least six months’ worth of contributions within the last 12 months.  If you are an employed member, you may talk to your HR or accounting department and advise them that you have enrolled to the P.E.S.O Fund of the SSS; see if they can facilitate your monthly contributions to your P.E.S.O account through salary deduction.

Amount: Your benefits from the P.E.S.O fund will be released to you upon retirement, disability, or death claim through a monthly pension, lump sum, or combination of both.

The secret to making your SSS membership work for you is to be faithful in paying your contributions.  If you should save or set aside some amount as your savings, make your SSS contributions mandatory against your personal budget, especially if you are self-employed.

Insurance is something you pay for but wish you never have to use.  Yet everyone is encouraged to invest in insurance because you never know when you will need additional funds for emergency cases.

Welcome to your adult life!

Source: http://www.sss.gov.ph

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Feb 26

In the Philippines, if you would like to regain your capacity to marry, you need to file a case for annulment and pray that you win the battle against your spouse.  It is a long and tedious process of mainly destroying the character of the person you married to prove that the marriage was either: not valid from the beginning or was acquired by force, intimidation, or undue influence.  It is an expensive and traumatic process for the couple and their children.

Last week, the House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations submitted a divorce bill for plenary deliberations and approved a substitute bill that consolidated all proposals to legalize divorce and dissolution of marriage.  Various questions arose from this news: how is divorce different from annulment?  Is it going to be an easier and shorter process than annulment?  Is it going to be cheaper?

These are interesting questions that led us to dig deeper into this topic.  We found remarkable information that can help us better understand and appreciate the proposal.  We hope you find these useful too.

Annulment vs. Divorce

What is the difference between annulment and divorce?

According to www.justia.com, an annulment of marriage is a legal decree that a marriage is null and void.  Annulments are granted when a court makes a finding that a marriage is invalid.  While divorce ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed.

Annulment vs. Declaration of Nullity of Marriage

Annulment applies to a marriage that is considered valid, but there are grounds to nullify it.  While a Declaration of Nullity of Marriage applies to marriages that are void or invalid from the very beginning.

Both annulment and declaration of nullity of marriage need to undergo the necessary court proceeding in order for the separation to be legalized.  Also, for purposes of remarriage, a court order must be released.  Without a court declaration, any subsequent marriages may be voided and the parties involved may be charged with bigamy.

Will legalizing Divorce in the Philippines make the process of separating from one’s spouse simpler?  Will there still be a need for a court proceeding?

Yes, there will still be a court proceeding in order for the divorce to be declared legal.  The committee that approved the bill refers to this as Summary Judicial Proceeding; this means that the legal processes involved in obtaining a divorce have been simplified and essentially, shortened, as compared to the processes observed in annulment.

What are the grounds for Summary Judicial Proceedings of Divorce?

  1. If the couple have been separated for no less than 5 years;
  2. If one of the spouses has remarried;
  3. If the spouses are legally separated for two years or more by virtue of a judicial decree;
  4. If one of the spouses have been sentenced to prison for six years, even if he or she is granted pardon by the courts;
  5. If one of the spouses has undergone surgery to alter his gender.

The summary proceeding (which short-cuts the entire judicial process in getting a divorce) is only applicable to the above situations.  Any other case that does not fall within the above scenarios shall still go through the longer and stricter court proceeding.

Will divorcing one’s spouse be the cheaper alternative to annulment?

Abot-kaya is how the news described divorce in terms of fees and expenses.  This is because the services of a lawyer is optional in divorce.

How will I know if I should divorce or annul my marriage to my spouse?  Am I free to decide which course to take?

This is a topic that is still being discussed by the technical working group that transmitted the bill.  According to their lead, divorce can be likened to a “merciful interment for irremediably dead marriage”.  Meaning, the marriage must have already disintegrated and that there is nothing left to save anymore.  “Only spouses in totally broken marriages and those void from the start are entitled to a grant of absolute divorce.”

Who decides when a marriage can be considered dead is still unclear.

Are you for or against legalizing divorce in our country?  Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic as we keep a close watch on the divorce bill’s progress in Congress and the Senate.

Thank you for dropping by!

 

References:

www.justia.com

http://news.abs-cbn.com

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Feb 22

PhilHealth membership is not limited to regularly-employed Filipinos.  In fact, unemployed and self-employed individuals are strongly encouraged to faithfully make monthly contributions to secure their PhilHealth claims in times of emergencies.  Problem is, when a member fails to make a contribution for a month or two, they immediately think that they are no longer qualified to claim from PhilHealth.  Others opt to completely neglect paying their contributions because they think that missing one payment already means that all their other payments have been written off already.

To help everyone understand how the PhilHealth appropriates a member’s contribution, we are sharing the following checklists lifted from PhilHealth’s Facebook page.  These will help you determine if you are eligible for PhilHealth benefits in spite of irregular payments of your monthly contributions.

These checklists follow the 3/6 rule where the required number of monthly premium contributions is at least three (3) months within the immediate six (6) months (or 3/6!) prior to the first day of availment or hospital confinement.  The six-month period is inclusive of the confinement month.

a. If the admission date is: FEBRUARY 21, 2018 and the member’s contributions are as follows:

1

THE MEMBER IS ELIGIBLE.

b. If the admission date is: FEBRUARY 21, 2018 and the member’s contributions are as follows:

2

THE MEMBER IS NOT ELIGIBLE because the member only paid contributions for 2 months.

c. If the admission date is: FEBRUARY 21, 2018 and the member’s contributions are as follows:

3

THE MEMBER IS ELIGIBLE because he completed 3 months’ contributions within the immediate 6 months prior to confinement.

d. If the admission date is: FEBRUARY 21, 2018 and the member’s contributions are as follows:

4

THE MEMBER IS ELIGIBLE because he completed 3 months’ contributions within the immediate 6 months prior to confinement.

e. If the admission date is: FEBRUARY 21, 2018 and the member’s contributions are as follows:

5

THE MEMBER IS ELIGIBLE because he completed 3 months’ contributions within the immediate 6 months prior to confinement, EVEN IF THESE ARE NOT CONSECUTIVE MONTHS.

f. If the admission date is: FEBRUARY 21, 2018 and the member’s contributions are as follows:

5

THE MEMBER IS ELIGIBLE because he completed 3 months’ contributions within the immediate 6 months prior to confinement, EVEN IF THESE ARE NOT CONSECUTIVE MONTHS.

Nonetheless, PhilHealth still maintains that all members must remit their contributions faithfully and consistently.  This is the only way you can be assured of your eligibility to claim from PhilHealth.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/PhilHealth/

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Feb 20 (1)

Mang Roy was a famous farmer in their barrio.  His success story, from being a humble tenant who plants and harvests for landlords, to being one of the wealthiest landowners and supplier of root crops, fruits, and vegetables in their province, is well-known in their barangay.  When he retired from farming at the age of 62, he has successfully established his family’s properties and remained to be the largest supplier of milled rice in their region.

Sadly though, Mang Roy passed away shortly after handing over the operations of their farms to his eldest daughter. After his death, his family decided to subdivide part of Mang Roy’s farmland, the areas that he set apart for his children’s inheritance.

Through the help of a lawyer, the documents needed to transfer the land’s titles to Mang Roy’s children were filed at the Registry of Deeds.  Everything went smoothly until the ROD required the children to submit a copy of Mang Roy’s birth certificate.

His wife requested for a copy at the Philippine Statistics Authority although, at the back of her mind, she knows that she has never seen a copy of her husband’s birth certificate.  She recalls him saying once that he doesn’t have a birth certificate.

True enough, their request returned void; they were instead handed a negative certificate – meaning, Mang Roy’s birth is not registered.  When they inquired how they can get a copy of Mang Roy’s birth certificate, they were advised to apply for a late registration of birth at the LCR in Mang Roy’s birthplace.

Late registration of birth happens when a child remains unregistered at the Local Civil Registry of his birthplace for more than 30 days after his birth.  For various reasons, parents fail to report their child’s birth to the municipal hall and as a result, these children grow up without a record of their birth.  Not having a birth certificate is not a complicated matter since all you have to do is submit the person’s information for proper registration.  It becomes complicated when the person you wish to register is already dead.

Although the requirements for late registration are pretty simple (an original copy of your Baptismal Certificate and a Certified True Copy of the person’s Marriage Certificate), these may prove to be inutile since the person who needs to be registered is already dead.  However, without Mang Roy’s birth certificate, his children may not be granted their inheritance.

Their family lawyer advised them to execute a Joint Affidavit of Two Disinterested Persons – an attestation from two individuals who are not related to Mang Roy’s family but are fully aware of Mang Roy’s identity and roots.  This affidavit shall support the details of Mang Roy’s birth date and birthplace.  This, together with the negative certificate given by the PSA, shall then be submitted to the Registry of Deeds to fulfill the requirement for Mang Roy’s birth certificate.

Mang Roy’s children sought the kind help of their former landlords and the tenants of their farmlands.  All these people knew their father from as far back as when he was starting as a humble farmer and are all qualified to execute the needed affidavit.  As soon as the documents were notarized, Mang Roy’s children trooped to the ROD, submitted the documents, and explained to the clerk that their father’s birth was never registered and he did not have a birth certificate all his life.

Fortunately, the RDO accepted the documents and released the land titles of each of Mang Roy’s children.

It is important for all Filipinos to be duly registered at the LCR of their birthplaces and to have a copy of his birth certificate all the time.  If your parents still do not have birth certificates, find time to register them at their birthplaces so they would be properly accounted for by the PSA.  Every member of your household must have a copy of their PSA birth certificate, printed on the PSA’s Security Paper.

Reference: www.psa.gov.ph

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Feb 14

Sofie has always known that her mother’s name is Emelita.  That is the name written on all her mother’s IDs and on the birth certificates of Sofie and her siblings.  However, when Aling Emelita requested for a copy of her PSA birth certificate, they were shocked to see that her name is actually not Emelita but Maria Rosario!  All other information on her birth certificate is correct, her birth date, birthplace, and the names of her parents.  Everything, except her name.

They discovered this in the early ‘90s when Aling Emelita was preparing to work abroad.  Since she was in a hurry to get a passport, she resolved to use her Maria Rosario birth certificate and was granted a passport as Maria Rosario.

When Sofie graduated from high school with flying colors, her parents gifted her and her siblings a trip to Tokyo Disneyland.  Sofie and her three siblings, all minors, trooped to the DFA to get their passports.  But they were all horribly disappointed when their applications were put on hold because of the inconsistency in their mother’s name as written on their birth certificates and the name that appears on their mother’s birth certificate.  On their birth certificates, their mother is Emelita.  But on Aling Emelita’s, her name is Maria Rosario.

How does one correct their parent’s name as it appears on their birth certificate?

While it is clear that Aling Emelita has chosen to simply adopt her name as written on her birth certificate (Maria Rosario), she failed to work on correcting the details on her children’s birth certificates, where her name is still written as Emelita. 

Sofie and her siblings need to have their birth certificates corrected to reflect their mother’s name as Maria Rosario.  Here’s what they need to do:

  1. They need to go to the Local Civil Registry of their birthplace and request for correction of their mother’s name as it appears on their birth certificates.
  2. They must bring a copy of Aling Emelita’s PSA birth certificate where her name is written as Maria Rosario.  Any other government-issued ID of Aling Emelita (as Maria Rosario) will likewise help in further solidifying their petition.
  3. Fees vary according to municipality and payments must be made only with the city or municipal hall’s cashier.  All payments must be issued with a government receipt.  Be wary of fixers.
  4. When the petition is successfully filed by the LCR, Sofie and her siblings will be given a copy of the Finality and Endorsement pertaining to the correction they requested.
  5. After three to six months, they can begin following up with the PSA for the corrected copies of their birth certificates.  When making a follow-up, bring the Finality and Endorsement documents from the LCR.
  6. The first corrected copies of their birth certificates must be claimed at the PSA head office in Sta. Mesa, building 2.  All other succeeding copies may be requested online at www.psahelpline.ph.

If you have similar concerns about your birth certificate, send us your questions and we will do our best to find the best answer for you.

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Reference: www.psa.gov.ph

 

Feb 12.jpg

When a child is born out of wedlock, the child carries the mother’s family name unless the father gives his consent for his child to use his last name and acknowledges him on paper.  The date of marriage field on the child’s birth certificate must also be left blank until the parents are married, if and when.

There are cases when the child’s parents would place false information on their child’s birth certificate, declaring themselves to be married when they are not.  Some single moms manage to include the child’s father’s last name on the child’s birth certificate, without seeking the latter’s consent.  In their desire to save their child from being labeled illegitimate, they end up falsifying a public document, never mind the consequences it will eventually bring on their child.

So how does one correct the false information written on a birth certificate?

Nerissa and Joel were both only 22 years old when their eldest child, Denver, was born.  Because they did not want their firstborn to suffer the stigma of being an illegitimate child, and since they do have plans of getting married later on, they opted for Denver to carry his father’s last name.  Apart from that, they declared January 27, 2007 as their date of marriage – in reality, this was the date when they officially became a couple.

Fast forward to 10 years later when Denver, now a fifth grader and a prized athlete of their school, needs to secure a passport so he can compete in a swim meet in Singapore.  His mom prepared all the documents needed for submission to the DFA, including and most importantly, Denver’s PSA birth certificate.

It was only then that Nerissa realized that Denver’s birth certificate still bears the fake date of marriage of his parents and his last name is still that of his biological father’s.  Nerissa and Joel have since gone their separate ways; Nerissa is a single parent to Denver while Joel is married and is already residing abroad.

True enough, when they presented the documents at the DFA, Nerissa was asked to submit a copy of her and Joel’s “marriage certificate”.  When she said that she does not have a marriage certificate because she is, in fact, not married, Denver’s passport application was put on hold.

Mother and son went home brokenhearted and clearly, unsure of the next steps they need to make to clarify the issue.

Nerissa wanted to work on two things: first, to change her son’s last name to her maiden last name and second, to rectify the false date of marriage declared on the child’s birth certificate.

In this case, changing Denver’s last name should be the easier task.  She can file a petition in court to request for her son’s last name to be dropped and changed with hers.  As of the moment, Philippine courts grant these types of petitions only on the following grounds:

  1. When the name is or sounds ridiculous, dishonorable, or extremely difficult to write or pronounce;
  2. When the change results as a legal consequence such as legitimation;
  3. When the change will avoid confusion;
  4. When one has continuously used and been known since childhood by a Filipino name, and as unaware of alien parentage;
  5. A sincere desire to adopt a Filipino name to erase signs of former alienage, all in good faith and without prejudicing anybody; and
  6. When the surname causes embarrassment and there is no showing that the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or that the change of name would prejudice public interest.

Obviously, Nerissa has a lot of explaining and justifying to do before the court.  She needs to justify why she is now seeking to change the last name of Denver and prove that the change is for her son’s best interest.

The fake date of marriage on Denver’s birth certificate is a case all on its own.  Dropping the fake date of marriage will be handled through a court order and with the assistance of Nerissa’s lawyer.  These types of cases take time and may cost Nerissa more than she would have bargained for.

Placing false and inaccurate information on civil registry documents is illegal and considered a crime in our country.  You may get away with it for a time but remember that whoever owns the document will eventually suffer the consequences of having false information on his or her birth or marriage certificate.

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Feb 08-b

On February 16, 2018, Friday, we will be celebrating the start of the Year of the Earth Dog!  If you’re a follower of our blog, you must have already checked your animal sign’s luck predictions for 2018.  Yes, some of us are going to have a great year if we play our cards right, while others will have to work doubly hard to guard their wealth, health, and relationships.

While we do not have control over our stars, a Fengh Shui expert said that there are actual, practical things we can do before, during, and after the Chinese New Year to encourage good luck for 2018.  So if your animal sign is not  an ally of the Earth Dog, pay close attention to these tips!

  1. Clean your home.

This is something you should do every day but maybe, be more conscientious of the nooks and crannies in your home to make sure that even the farthest corners and highest of shelves are spic and span.  It would not hurt to clear out your gutters, weed the garden and trim the bushes too while you’re at it.  Yes dear, general cleaning, in and out of your home as if you are expecting a VIP to visit soon.

  1. Throw out broken gadgets and give away old clothes.

Collect all broken appliances, toys, and gadgets and throw them all out.  Admit it, these take up so much spaces in our cabinets, drawers, and desks.  If it’s no longer serving its purpose, out it goes.  Same goes for your clothes – your pag pumayat ako wardrobe – out!  Give them away or sell them online; whatever you do, just get rid of all these clutter that is taking up too much room in your house.

  1. Boil pomelo leaves and use this for your bath.

It’s called pomelo water and it is believed to remove bad luck and bad energies from the pas year.  Do this on the eve of the Chinese New Year (February 15).

  1. Flowers and fruits as home decors.

Use fresh flowers and fruits to beautify your home’s interiors.  Get some pomelo, pineapples, oranges, apples, and grapes – these fruits are symbols of prosperity.

  1. Don’t forget the Ang Pao!

The ang pao (red envelopes with money) brings good luck to both receiver and giver so make sure you have enough of these envelopes in your stash and give it out to kids!

  1. Make some noise.

You do not need to buy the illegal stuff; a toy horn and some fireworks will do!  Just make enough noise to drive out the old year’s bad vibes.

  1. Eat your first lucky meal.

After the clock strikes midnight, eat your first lucky meal of the year.  If you want to make it truly special, research on symbolic Chinese dishes that you and your family can prepare.  Don’t forget the tikoy and other sweet cakes!

  1. Rearrange your furniture.

Research on your animal sign’s feng shui for your home and office and then go ahead and move your stuff around.  This should give you something productive to do on New Year’s day while letting your space breathe and welcome good vibes on the first day of the Chinese New Year.

  1. Spend time with your family.

Since it’s a holiday in the Philippines, stay at home with your kids or take them out for a special dinner, a stroll in the park, or a grand day at the mall.  The best way to celebrate the first day of the year is being with the people you truly love and treasure.

  1. Attend celebrations and other joyful events.

For the rest of the year, make it a point to say “yes” to invitations to joyful events such as birthdays, weddings, baptisms, and other celebrations.  Avoid hospitals and wakes as long as you can.

We’d be glad to know how you will be spending the Chinese New Year weekend!  Share them here!

Reference: http://www.rappler.com

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Feb 08-a

Question: Can I apply for a passport even if my gender in my PSA birth certificate is wrong? I can have this corrected but that will take time. I already have an appointment with the DFA and I need my passport asap.

Answer: You may go ahead and appear at the DFA on the date of your appointment, bring all the required IDs and supporting documents as listed in the passport.gov. website.  You may be required by the DFA to submit an Affidavit of Undertaking in support of your claim that your birth certificate is undergoing a correction. Take note that the DFA may also simply advise you to come back when a copy of your birth certificate is already available.  It is up to you to explain to them why you still cannot execute a copy of the document.

Question: My wife and I will be accompanying our 3-year-old son for his passport application. Can we both access the priority lane so we can have our passports renewed at the same time?

The Priority Lanes at DFA offices are reserved for Senior Citizens, OFWs, PWDs, pregnant women, and children below 7 years old.  Only one companion is allowed to be with the applicant inside the DFA premises; only this companion may take advantage of the no-appointment privilege.

Question: My middle and last names were interchanged in my birth certificate so that my last name appears to be my middle name, and my middle name appears to be my last name.  What do I do? 

This can be corrected by filing a Petition for Correction at the LCR of the city or municipality where the birth was registered.  It would be wise to prepare copies of your parents’ PSA birth certificates as well to serve as supporting documents to your petition.

Question: When our daughter was born, we weren’t married yet.  We placed a false date of marriage in our daughter’s birth registration. Now we are already married, how do we correct the date of marriage in our child’s birth certificate?

Never, under any circumstance, place false information in your civil registry documents.  These types of cases need to be referred to a lawyer and may undergo a court proceeding.

Question: My child is 2 years old and is already registered at the LCR.  Can I add three more letters to his name when I get his PSA birth certificate?  Is there a fee for this and how much?

If the error is considered clerical (typographic error), you may simply file a petition for correction.  However, if the petitioner wants to “change” the name (in this case, add a few letters to the original name), you will be asked by the LCR why you wish to do so.  Your request may be granted (or denied!), depending on the veracity of your reason for changing the name.

Question: Will the DFA accept the LCR petition letter as proof that the spelling of my name in my birth certificate is already in process. I already have an appointment for passport interview.

No.  You will have to wait until your PSA birth certificate is made available.  The DFA will only accept birth certificates in PSA Security Paper.

Question: Can we apply for the late registration of birth certificate of a deceased person?  We need his birth certificate so we can claim the death benefits. 

You will have to explain to the LCR why you need to “late register” the birth of a deceased person.  Normally, this type of request is not allowed.

Question: I am scheduled to pick up my PSA birth certificate on February 13, 2018 between 1PM to 4PM at the Releasing Area, 5th floor of PSA Sta. Mesa. However, I can’t make it to Manila on the said date.  Is it okay if I pick it up after February 13?

Yes.  Requested PSA documents are kept on file for 30 days until the requesting party comes to claim the document.  PSA reserves the right to dispose of the documents if these remain unclaimed for more than 30 days.

Question: When I was 18 years old, I was “married” to my girlfriend who was only 17 years old then. We separated a few years later and I found out she got married to another man. I am planning to marry my partner too but when I requested for my CENOMAR, the details of my previous marriage are written on the document.  When I asked my ex, she said that her CENOMAR did not show the same.  What do I do?

In order for you to be allowed to remarry, your previous marriage must be dissolved by virtue of an annulment.  There is a huge possibility that your petition for an annulment will be easily granted because both you and your ex-wife were underage at the time you were supposedly married.

Question: I had my birth certificate “endorsed” by the LCR to the PSA.  How many days or weeks or months does it usually take before I am able to get a PSA copy of my birth certificate?

Normally, a week after you are given a copy of the finality an endorsement with the courier receipt by the LCR, you may begin following up at the PSA Sta. Mesa office, building 2.  Bring all the documents given to you by the LCR as proof of your transaction.

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Feb 05 (2)

“Ang mahal nang magpakasal ngayon! Kulang ang P200,000 na budget,” says the groom-to-be to his brother who will be standing as the Best Man in his wedding.

“Mas mahal ang annulment.  Ang habang proseso pa.” Quips the brother who, incidentally, just got the court’s decision on the annulment he filed several years back against his now ex-wife.

Last week, the House of Representatives approved a proposed law that will supposedly cut down the costs of a marriage annulment by simply acknowledging the Catholic Church’s decision on the annulment.  Meaning, if your marriage was annulled by the Church, the State will recognize the decision and you no longer need to undergo a judicial process.  Court hearings and attorney’s fees make up the cost of an annulment and by eliminating both, you are able to save hundreds of thousands of hard-earned money – money you will need when you and your spouse go your separate ways.

At the moment, an annulment may cost you between P200,000 to roughly less than half a million, depending on your lawyer’s fees and other expenses during the trial.  That is why it is best that you are fully aware of the entire process of undergoing an annulment before making the decision to dive in and go the whole nine yards.

Today we will share the step-by-step process of a marriage annulment in the Philippines and how it has become such an expensive (not to mention sad and painful) method of ending a relationship.  Take note though that the following should not be taken as legal advice; we researched this information online and are sharing it for information and guidance.

The Annulment Process in the Philippines:

Step 1: READ UP ON THE PROCESS OF ANNULMENT

There are a lot of annulment materials available online that you can freely access.  You may talk to friends and families who went through an annulment; they can give you first-hand information on attorney’s fees, processes, and other information that may not be available online.

Step 2: CHOOSE AN ATTORNEY

When you are 100% sure that you would like to continue with the annulment, you need to choose an attorney who will handle the case for you.  If this is your first time to ever need the services of a lawyer, the following pointers may help:

  • Find a lawyer you can trust.
  • If you should search online, be wary of lawyers and legal websites that promise to get you an annulment in a few months’ time.  There are some who will even tell you-you do not need to appear in court.  These may be signs that the people behind these sites or legal offices are scammers and fixers who are only after the money they could get from you.
  • Consider the cost of hiring a lawyer.  This may vary depending on his experience and track record of handling annulment cases.  Of course, the more popular and successful the lawyer, the higher his charges would be.
  • Narrow your options to 3 or 4 lawyers then schedule your appointments with them before you make your final choice.
  • The lawyer you choose should be able to execute a written contract detailing the terms and conditions of handling your case.  Ask questions and clarify anything that is unclear to you.  It would help to have someone with you who can interpret legal jargons and is used to reading lengthy contracts and agreements.  Remember, you can walk away anytime you feel that your clarifications are not fully satisfied.

STEP 3: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION

Now that you have a lawyer, you will be required to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine your personality and how this translates to the case you are about to file.  Remember, in the Philippines, most annulments are grounded on psychological incapacity, for lack of something worse you can charge your legal spouse.

It is also during the psychological evaluation when you will be asked to narrate your marital history and effectively, draft the basis of the petition and psychological evaluation.

In short, your petition will be drafted in the presence of your lawyer and a psychologist.  So effectively, you will be paying for two professionals right at the onset of the annulment process.

STEP 4: FILING THE PETITION

Your annulment petition will be drafted by your lawyer after the psychologist has released his evaluation.  Your lawyer should send the draft to you for your review and approval before he submits it to court.  You would need to sign the affidavit of non-forum shopping and this will be attached to the petition.  Check that all documents are duly notarized before submission to court.

Once submitted, your case will be assigned to a judge by public raffle.

STEP 5: PRE-TRIAL AND COLLUSION INVESTIGATION

When a judge has been identified to handle your case, it will be scheduled for pre-trial.

An annulment must not be a conspiracy between the spouses involved; meaning, the court needs to prove that only one of the two parties is voluntarily filing the annulment.  The court will need to establish this through a collusion investigation.

Meanwhile, the judge will limit the issues involved in the case and require the parties involved to submit to a mediation.  This is where child support, custody, and visitorial privileges are discussed.

STEP 6: TRIAL

The three witnesses involved in an annulment trial are:

  1. The Petitioner
  2. The Psychologist
  3. A corroborating witness (this could be a friend or relative who knows the couple personally and is aware of the petitioner’s desire to break up the marriage).

The Respondent (or the ex-wife or husband) shall receive a notification of the annulment process.  Respondents seldom appear to contest the petition.

STEP 7: THE DECISION

After all witnesses have taken the stand, the case is submitted for the decision of the court.

There will be a 15-day period for a motion for reconsideration to be filed; this shall begin from the time the decision is rendered and is received by either party.

If the annulment is granted, the Office of the Solicitor General can file a motion for reconsideration and appeal the case to the Court of Appeals.  An annulment is not final until the decision of the Court of Appeals is released.

STEP 8: ANNOTATION WITH THE CIVIL REGISTRAR’S OFFICE

The LCR where the marriage took place has to apply the necessary annotations on the ex-couple’s marriage certificate.  When any of the parties request for a copy of their old marriage certificate, the decision of the court should be clearly printed on the document, as proof that the marriage has been rendered null and void.

Both parties will need the annotated copy of the marriage certificate as proof that they are now free from the bounds of their marriage and may choose to re-marry or, in the case of the ex-wife, revert to her maiden last name in all of her IDs and other documents.

It is a long and painful process, as evidenced by the above narration.  And so it is true that getting an annulment is much more expensive than getting married.

Think first before taking the plunge.

Reference: www.hg.org

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