A screenshot of a photo lifted from https://www.flickr.com/photos/rocketjim54/2346073312/
A Filipino name is usually composed of a first name, middle name and surname. While in some western countries the parents decide on a child’s middle name, here in the Philippines, our middle names are our mother’s maiden surname. This leaves many people wondering, what is the importance of the middle name in the Philippines?
First, the middle name identifies the lineage of the mother. Due to our close family ties, this is as important as the lineage of the father.
Secondly, with the growing population in the country, there may be persons who share the same first name and surname. The middle name helps us distinguish persons with the same first names and surnames. This is significant in securing an NBI clearance, which is a requirement for job, passport or visa application. It can happen that the applicant may have a “hit”. A “hit” means that another person shares the same given name and surname, and the namesake has a pending case in court. In order for the NBI officer to determine whether they are different persons, the NBI officer may look at the middle name because most likely the two persons will have different middle names.
The Supreme Court explained the importance of the middle name in the case of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang, a legitimated child. When the family migrated to Singapore, the parents asked the court to drop Julian’s middle name. In Singapore, the mother’s maiden name is not carried as the person’s middle name. The parents were concerned that their son will be discriminated and ridiculed in school because of his middle name.
The Court denied their request. The Court said that the change of name can be allowed only for ‘proper and reasonable cause’. Mere inconvenience in the use of one’s middle name, is not considered a valid reason. A legitimate child like Julian, the Court said, has the right to use the names of his mother or father. And this right cannot be taken away from Julian. (In Re: Petition for Change of Name and/or Correction/Cancellation of Entry in Civil Registry of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang v. Cebu City Civil Registrar, G.R. No. 159966. March 30, 2005)
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