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The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) defines civil registration as the continuous, permanent, and compulsory recording of vital events occurring in the life of an individual such as birth, marriage, and death, as well as all court decrees, and legal instruments affecting his civil status in appropriate registers as mandated by Act No. 3753, the Civil Registry Law of the Republic of the Philippines.

It is a fundamental responsibility carried out by the state through its citizens and qualified authorities whose collective reports become official records from which important milestones in a person's life is documented.

In accordance with Rule 10 of Administrative Order No.1, s.1993 (Implementing Rules and Regulations of Act No.3753 and Other Laws on Civil Registration) “all vital events occurring to Filipinos residing abroad (permanently or temporarily) shall be reported to the Philippine Foreign Service Establishments of the country of residence or where the vital event took place, or where non is located thereat, in the Philippine Foreign Service Establishment of the country nearest the place of residence of the party concerned or where the vital event occurred”.

Through civil registration, Filipinos are able to show proof of legal identity, civil status and family relationship among others.

These permanent records of vital events grant Filipinos access to the state's essential services which include education, social security and healthcare, while also enabling participation in political exercises, property ownership and inheritance, recourse to the judicial system, employment, access to banking, and facilitating travel and identification.