PCW lauds LTO’s move to address policies related to the use of maiden name

The Philippine Commission on Women lauds the action of the Land Transportation Office in addressing concerns in relation to women’s use of maiden name in the processing of licenses.

In its Memorandum directed to its regional and field offices, the LTO recognized that there have been complaints about LTO field offices refusing to process applications for license if a married woman does not bear the husband’s surname.

The issuance follows a series of correspondence and meetings between PCW and LTO, with the former emphasizing what we have long reiterated: a married woman has an option, but not a duty, to use the surname of the husband.  

The LTO reminded field offices to accept and process applications for driver’s license of women involving reversion to or retention of maiden name.

It prohibits the following actions during the application for student-driver’s permit, driver’s license, and conductor’s license of women: 1. Requiring married women to use their husband’s surname; 2. Requiring women to declare their civil status as “single” if they do not use their husband’s surname; 3. Refusing to make proper corrections when married women realize that they are not compelled by law to use their husband’s surname; 4. Encoding or using the surname of the husband in the records without the woman’s knowledge or consent; 5. Requiring married women who use their maiden surname to present a court decree of annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage.

This is in line with PCW Memorandum Order No. 2016-07 wherein we reiterated that under existing laws, the 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; 3. Her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as Mrs.

In a reply letter to the LTO Memorandum, PCW Executive Director Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves commended the LTO for its action.

“The issuance of the said policy will hopefully address common concerns raised by married female clients in applying for a driver’s license. We laud this prompt and gender-responsive action as it shows the firm commitment of the LTO in implementing gender mainstreaming in its policies and practices, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9710 or “The Magna Carta of Women”,” said Chaves.

The PCW, through its Gender and Development Information and Referral Services, has received about 40 inquiries and complaints regarding the retention of or reversion to maiden name involving various agencies since 2015, some of which are directed to LTO. The commission engaged in talks with agencies including LTO, Philhealth, and SSS, among others, to work on ways to stop the discriminatory practices regarding this issue.

With this move from LTO, the PCW is hopeful that the other agencies and institutions such as those that issue licenses and valid identification cards, financial institutions, and social insurance memberships, will follow suit. May all agencies respect and recognize women’s rights and freedom to continue using her maiden name even after marriage.