Before the Spaniards came to the Philippine Islands, Filipinos did not have last names. The Spaniards required last names and first names for baptism. A list of names was provided for them to choose. Some of the last names are the Spanish translation of its English equivalents. These names were given to Filipinos in order to be identical. In our present time, last names can be used for various purposes.
One use is to allow the transfer of properties of the father to the child. It also signifies the passing on of the family’s honor to his child, for him to continue the will of his ancestors. A last name that is the same as the father’s, shows that the child belongs to the bloodline of the father. This tells us that that the father accepts and recognizes the child to be his own.
Interestingly in Queensland, Australia, the procedure of registering the birth of a child of unmarried parents is as follows: 1) the parents of the child should register the birth together. In such a case, the birth certificate will show both the mother’s and father’s details. 2) If only the mother’s details are shown, the father may add his details by filling out a form, and attaching certified proof of his ID documents. 3) He must sign the declaration section of the form in the presence of an adult witness. 4) Then the birth certificate must be returned and changed for replacement. 5) If the birth certificate indicates that the father is “UNKNOWN”, DNA evidence must prove that he is the father of the child.
Here in the Philippines, children are usually allowed to carry the last name of the father only if their parents are married. But a law enacted in 2004, the “Revilla Law” now makes it possible for the illegitimate child to use the last name of his father. The father, however, needs to recognize the child as his own. There must be written proof of this, in the record of birth appearing in the civil register, in a public document or in a private handwritten instrument.
For more details regarding this procedure, please call us at (+632) 7051265 and (+632) 7051277.