Standardized records of Filipino names and surnames

On November 21, 1849, then Spanish Governor General Narciso Claveria issued a decree to adopt a standardized records of Filipino names and surnames.

Through the so-called “Claveria Decree,” he issued a list of family names in alphabetical order, which were based on a catalog of Spanish surnames.

He expanded it by including the names of places, plants, animals, minerals, art products and character traits, both in the native languages and in Spanish.

Accordingly, Claveria distributed the list of family names to the heads of the provinces, then the head of each province sent a portion of the list to each parish priest.

Depending on what he thought was the number of families in each barangay, the priest allocated a part of the list to the “cabeza” (barangay head). The cabeza was then asked to assist the oldest person of each family to choose a surname, which upon registration, the individual involved as well as his direct descendants would from then on use as family name.

Before 1849, Filipinos in general lacked individual surnames which distinguished them by families. They arbitrarily adopted names of saints, resulting in the existence of thousands of individuals of the same surname. This resulted in confusion in the administration of justice, government, finance, and public order.

Also, as family names were not transmitted from parents to children, degrees of consanguinity were difficult to assess for the purpose of marriage.

Meanwhile, under the Claveria decree, those who changed or did not use the name recorded in the new register would be imprisoned. Documents which did not carry the registered family name would not be considered valid.

Hence, since 1850, most Filipinos started using new surnames based on the Claveria list.

The Claveria decree exempted only four native surnames from change: Lacandola, Mojica, Tupas and Raja Matanda. Also, those who had consistently used a family name for four generations were given the option to retain it. All others had to have a new surname.

Also on this date in 1986, President Corazon C. Aquino signed two significant Executive Orders (EOs) for the improvement of aviation security and water utility.

She said EO 69 is about “increasing the aviation security fee on departing international passengers as prescribed in Letter of Instructions (LOI) No. 414-A dated June 17, 1976.

The President noted that EO 69 also meets the thrusts of the National Action Committee on Anti-Hijacking (NACAH) to upgrade its manpower and technical operational capabilities in accordance with international aviation security standards, and adequate operational and logistical funds thereto must be provided through an increase in the aviation security fee on departing international passengers.

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