What’s in a name?

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“As explained by the Supreme Court in a decision, a woman is ‘allowed to use not only any of the three names provided in Article 370 but also her maiden name upon marriage.’”

In the Philippines, many people assume that when a woman gets married, she automatically takes her husband’s surname. Not many women know that this is just one option they can take. When a woman marries, her civil status is the one that is changed and not necessarily her name.

Article 370 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, states that a married woman may use:

• Her maiden first name and surname, and add her husband’s surname, or

• Her maiden first name and her husband’s surname, or

• Her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is wife, such as “Mrs.”

As explained by the Supreme Court in a decision, a woman is “allowed to use not only any of the three names provided in Article 370 but also her maiden name upon marriage.” I was known as Marie June Pavillar during my student and TV newscasting days in the late 80s.

After I married in 1992, I used Pavillar-Castro. There are times though, when I co-sign documents, that I just used my maiden initial and husband’s surname because of lack of space.

When I ran for the City Council of Silay, I prominently used Castro because it was shorter and easier for the voters to write during manual elections, and way ahead in the alphabetical listing and numbering of candidates, during automated elections.

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When I got engaged, I discussed with my fiancé that I would keep my last name, and he agreed. After the wedding, people started calling me “Mrs. Pagsuberon” and I corrected them and explained that I was not changing my name. For some, it was such an alien idea – with comments, such as that I do not love my husband enough for me to take his name. It was absurd!

For sure that is not the only metric for love. I got married December last year and started processing the change of my civil status this January. It went smoothly in some agencies, but it was a hassle in others like PAG-IBIG and LTO.  I have been told several times that it would be easier if I just took his last name.

My decision comes with the burden of always having to explain, but I stand by it. I feel so strongly about my name, because it is my identity.  Most especially, I know that my husband and his family love me as much, regardless what my surname is.

A tip to those who wish to retain their maiden name after marriage: BE CONSISTENT! – In filling out forms and in using your name for everything. You can also bring your marriage certificate and a copy of the law just in case! – NWI

Young Feminists Collective accepts donations in cash and in kind for the survivors of Typhoon Ulysses. You may send donations to the following accounts: BPI: Brenda Pureza – 3089286912; BDO: Dasha Marice Uy – 005630499247; GCASH: Dawn Marie Castro – 09989807640; Paypal: Dawn Marie Castro dawn08castro@gmail.com. You may check out our FB page for more information: https://www.fb.com/YoungFemCollective.

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