Thursday, June 19, 2008

What’s in a Name?

June 19, 2008

I had to renew my Drivers’ License yesterday. It will be expiring this weekend *hint hint*. Good thing my dad brought me to LTO Aguinaldo/Cubao where there are significantly less people, cars and fixers. I abhor bureaucracy and its inefficiency and a crowded office makes it worse. I passed time waiting for my turnS (with an S because you have to wait for your turn several times as you have to go through several windows for processing, verification, cashier, 2 pictures and signatures, drug test and medical examinations etc. etc.) watching the Lakers-Celtics game (Go Celtics!).

As I was filling out my forms, the man in the Drug Testing area saw that I indicated that I am married but still use my maiden name. He goes,

LTO guy: Ma’am palitan niyo po to. Sinisita sa LTO ito. Married ka pero hindi ka nagpalit ng apelyido.

Me: Ayoko. It’s in the law.

LTO guy: Kinukwestyon po yan eh. Palitan niyo na lang para hindi magulo.

Me: Mas magulo kung papalitan ko yan. Besides it’s in the law. Pwede kong gamitin ang maiden name ko.

LTO guy: Bahala po kayo. (Sighing)

Me (Annoyed with my maldita tone): Oo, bahala ako. Review kayo ng laws niyo ha.

I hate the fact that a person is making me feel that I am obligated to take the name of my husband. I felt that because it was unusual, it was a nuisance. What a pile of macho shit.

There is a thread at GirlTalk on the topic of carrying the husband’s surname. A significant number of respondents chose to hyphenate their surname with their husband’s name for a feeling of equality. A few kept using their Maiden name. There were experiences that show husbands throwing a hissy fit when their wives chose to hyphenate or use their maiden name, and women are forced to submit and totally change their name. There are also experiences similar to mine, where Government Agencies do not accept hyphenated or maiden names when indicated that a woman is married.

For the benefit of Government Agencies (and other institutions and establishments),

Article 370 of Republic Act 386 reads:

A married woman may use:

(1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband's surname, or

(2) Her maiden first name and her husband's surname or

(3) Her husband's full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as "Mrs."

Note: There have been bills in Senate and the Lower House Amending this Article in the Civil Code to add that married woman may use HER MAIDEN FIRST NAME AND SURNAME.

Excerpts from A petition at the Supreme Court

Marriage does not change a woman's name, it merely changes her civil status. Her true and real name is that given to her and entered in the Civil Registry which she may continue to use despite her marriage or cessation of marriage for whatever reason she may have (Herrera, Remedial Law, 1996 Ed. III-A, p. 338, citing Yasin v. Judge, Shari'a District Court, 241 SCRA 606 (1995))._

Under the present article of our Code, however, the word "may" is used, indicating that the use of the husband's surname by the wife is permissive rather than obligatory. We have no law which provides that the wife shall change her name to that of the husband upon marriage. This in is consonance with the principle that surnames indicate descent. It seems, therefore, that a married woman may use only her maiden name and surname. She has an option, but not a duty, to use the surname of the husband in any of the ways provided by this Article." (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Commentaries and Jurisprudence, 1990, Vol. I, p. 675.)

Did we not all read these Shakespeare lines:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

What is it with men, then, when their wife uses her maiden name? Is a wife less appealing when she uses the name she was known for throughout her life?We trace this insecurity of males from the feudal view that women are mere materials that are meant for ownership. To carry the family name of the male signifies ownership just as a haciendero brands his cows.

I do not plan to carry the name of my husband (even though he has a relatively common and nice sounding family name). I just prefer my own. The fact of the matter is that he likes my surname more and asked if he can use mine. He likes it so much, one of his favorite shirts is my intramural shirt with my surname printed in its full glory at the back. Like most laws in the country, Article 370 of Republic Act 386 is just rhetoric if institutions, worse, GOVERNMENT Agencies do not comply.

By the way, a change of record (that is, my Civil Status) cost me 30 pesos. The Medical Check up was a sham for P100: Imagine putting 85kg on my record when the nures(?) didn't even look at the scale (That's 185 pounds! I assure you, I am nowhere near that). Worse, they issued me a temporary license as the lone printer bogged down just as it was printing my ID.

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  1. Hi! I have issues din with maiden name/married name. Ang hirap palitan ng records but what keeps bugging me is I can't withdraw my Paypal funds anymore because I changed my acct. name with the bank that's currently linked with Paypal. *sigh*

  2. Anonymous2:30 PM

    hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

  3. Anonymous3:13 PM

    Its true it is in the law. But beware, not all laws serve the common good... "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is (to an extent) Shakespears' analogy of unconditional love. Love the one you love, be he/she surnamed Arnold (Benedict Arnold)! Whats in a name? Your children bearing their fathers surname and you claim to be their mother, proclaiming everytime that it is in the law. As Badet would have it, ang hirap mag palit ng records. HEHEHEHE. just my 2cents. Maybe its convenient in meeting alternative life partners too, (i mean if you plan to dump your hubby).

    "Your commitment to freedom & liberty is measured by your tolerance for others who do things you disapprove".

  4. Admin4:09 PM

    My choice of not using my husband's surname does not mean that I want my children not to use their father's surname. That is their right and I plan to uphold it. I don't think that using my own surname would rob me of being my child's mother.

    "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is (to an extent) Shakespears' analogy of unconditional love. Indeed, I believe this. If a man's love is unconditional, he wouldn't mind if a woman uses her own surname, and will love and respect her just as much. Like what I have read in the GirlTalk forums, there are men (at this time and age! My God...) think that they own their wive and thus OBLIGATE them to use the man's surname. Even hyphenating sometimes insults them. Oh puhleez.

  5. Anonymous5:51 PM

    Amiable post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you on your information.



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