17 July 2021 – Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, Director General of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), sought for a meeting with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and religious sects to discuss concerns in the process and requirements for securing a Certification of Authority to Solemnize Marriage (CRASM).

During a meeting with PSA and other agencies on 15 July 2021, Belgica questioned one of the requirements for the said certification, which is a list of 200 bonafide active members including their complete address and signatures.

The Anti-Red Tape czar said the requirement can also be seen as discriminatory as there are a lot of home churches nowadays.

“What is the basis of the 200 membership? What if the ministry is a starting ministry or organization?” he said. “Ang mangyayari diyan ay mapipilitan silang magpapirma ng 200 something church members.”

Atty. Ira Paulo Ayo Pozon, who was present during the meeting, echoed Belgica’s sentiments and called the requirement an “ancient rule.”

“Huwag natin i-overregulate,” he said. “I should not have to give the data of my members just so I can solemnize the marriage.”

Belgica, who is also a pastor, shared his experience of going back and forth with the PSA for a year and a half before acquiring his certification to solemnize marriage.

“Kahit ang Panginoong Hesus hindi papasa sa requirements ninyo (PSA) kasi nagsimula siya sa labing dalawang disipulo lang,” he said.

Director Ben Canela of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Religious Affairs (OPARA) also attested to the difficulty of obtaining the certification even when the church is already registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Belgica said they will also tap SEC to share their processes.

The ARTA chief also said that they may request for a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) on the requirements for the Certification of Registration of Authority to Solemnize Marriage.

“I think there is really something that should be fundamentally aligned… it’s important for us to address these pain points,” Belgica said.