HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF CIVIL REGISTRATION IN THE PHILIPPINES
There was no formal civil registration in the country before the colonizers came. The laws and decrees issued during the early Spanish regime were not concerned with registration of vital events. Censuses were also non-existent so that very little was known about its population. Fragmentary evidence shows that some count on the fighting strength of each barangay was made when tribal wars were frequent. Even the laws and decrees issued during the latter part of the Spanish regime were not concerned with registration of vital events.
It was only on 8 December 1889 when the Civil Code of Spain took effect as law that institutions of civil registry and civil marriage were first established in the Philippines. But in less than a month, the same provisions pertaining to marriage, divorce, and civil registry were suspended by an order from Governor General Weyler. (Manual on Civil Registration, OCRG, Manila, 1983, pp.1-2).
Civil Registration in the Philippines underwent further changes during this period. The Municipal Law or Act No. 82, enacted by the Philippine Commission of 1901 provided in its Section 20 that each municipal Secretary shall maintain the civil registers of his locality.
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