January 31, 2023

House Bill 9897, which seeks to amend Republic Act 6514 to extend the authority of priests, ministers or rabbis to solemnize marriage from three to five years, was recently filed in Congress.
Benguet caretaker Eric Yap, who filed the bill, said HB 9897 proposes that the authority given to priests, ministers, rabbis or any authorized person to solemnize marriage shall expire on the last day of December of every fifth year.
Solemnizing officers are also allowed to renew their permit within the whole month of December.
The bill also proposed that concerned individuals are required to undergo an annual seminar throughout the whole duration of the validity of their authorization.
Also, the public official who is in charge of registration may also fix and collect fees through a regulation for the authorization to solemnize marriage.
Article 7 of the Family Code states that those who are authorized to solemnize marriage are any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect duly registered with the civil registrar general.
Yap said he came up with the bill after the Association of Baguio-Benguet Solemnizing Officers wrote a letter regarding their plight.
“I think this is one of their major concerns and this is a valid issue that we should look at. I will work hard to lobby for its immediate passage in Congress,” Yap said.
“They are playing a very vital role in our communities. I think we owe this to them. We are hopeful that through this measure, we can take some burden off their backs,” Yap added.
Further, authorizations to solemnize marriage issued prior to and valid on the date of the approval of the proposed amendatory act will continue to be valid until the 31st day of December of the year when the amendatory act takes effect. – Ofelia C. Empian