Poe files bill streamlining kids’ adoption process

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Grace Poe-BW
SENATOR Grace Poe-Llamanzares — BW FILE PHOTO

Senator Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares announced on Friday that she has filed a bill that intends to streamline the adoption process in the country.

Once enacted, the proposed law would “give adoptive parents the opportunity to have the status of their adopted child or children regularized in law,” Ms. Llamanzares said in a statement.

She added: “It is also in the best interest of the parents and the children to have the records rectified for possible future uses such as medical or DNA purposes or for other legal matters.”

Ms. Llamanzares’ Senate Bill (SB) No. 1725 seeks to “allow the rectification of the simulated birth where the simulation was made for the best interest of the child and that such child has been consistently considered and treated by the person/s as his/her/their own.”

In her explanatory note, the lawmaker said the 1987 Philippine Constitution is “known for its social justice provisions as governing light.”

“The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development, and the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.”

The Senator argued that Republic Act No. 8552 (also known as the Domestic Adoption Act) “recognizes informal adoptions or more commonly known as simulated births.”

“While Section 21 (b) of the said Act penalizes any person who shall cause the fictitious registration of the birth of a child under the name(s) of a person(s) who is not his/her biological parent(s), it also provided for an amnesty for those who did so for the best interest of the child. However, this amnesty resulted in a lacuna in the law in that it only allowed the rectification of those who 1) did so before the effectivity of the law on 22 March 1998; and (2) filed a petition for adoption within five (5) years from the effectivity of the Act or until 22 March 2003,” she explained.

Hence, the formal adoption procedure in the country remains “tedious and excessively costly for ordinary Filipinos,” the senator said, adding, “This leaves a lot of adoptees under assumed filiation and unduly deprived of the benefits of legitimacy and succession.”

Ms. Llamanzares’ SB No. 1725 states that “a petition for the rectification of a simulated birth record should be filed within 10 years from the effectivity of the measure.”

Also, “instead of going through the courts, those who will file a petition may do so through the Social Welfare and Development Officer of the city or municipality where the child resides. The Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development shall decide on the petition within 30 days from receipt of the recommendation of the department’s regional director.” — Arjay L. Balinbin