Belgica: 'Even Jesus Christ can't meet PSA requirements to solemnize marriage'

Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director-General Jeremiah Belgica said even Jesus Christ will find a hard time complying with the requirements of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to solemnize marriages as their requirements were "discriminatory."

Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director-General Jeremiah Belgica (Photo from ARTA)

Belgica made the statement as he sought a meeting with the PSA and religious sects to discuss concerns in the process and requirements for securing a Certification of Authority to Solemnize Marriage (CRASM).

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

According to the ARTA chief, the said requirement was discriminatory as there were a lot of home churches nowadays.

"What is the basis of the 200 membership? What if the ministry is a starting ministry or organization?" Belgica asked.

"Ang mangyayari diyan ay mapipilitan silang magpapirma ng (What will happen is they will be forced to recruit) 200 something church members," he added.

Belgica, who is also a pastor, said even Jesus Christ will have a hard time complying with PSA's requirement.

"Kahit ang Panginoong Hesus hindi papasa sa requirements ninyo (PSA) kasi nagsimula siya sa labing dalawang disipulo lang (Even the Lord Jesus Christ won't be able to meet your requirement because He started with just 12 disciples)," he said.

He likewise shared his experience of going back and forth with the PSA for 18 months before acquiring his certification to solemnize marriages.

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).

According to Belgica, the ARTA will tap the SEC to share their processes.

He added that they may also request a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) on the requirements for the CRASM.

"I think there is really something that should be fundamentally aligned... It's important for us to address these pain points," Belgica said.