Family & Child Law

House seeks Simpler Adoption Process

Date: 25 April 2018; Type: Legal News; Source: House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is seeking to facilitate the process of adoption or foster care of orphans, abandoned or neglected children. For this purpose, the House committee on the welfare of children has created a technical working group (TWG) to harmonize several measures seeking to consolidate all existing laws on alternative child care in the country. The TWG, headed by Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, is tasked to draft the substitute bill to House Bills 173, 1163, 3887 and 5090, similarly entitled “Alternative Child Care Code of 2017.”

Facing the TWG is the task of resolving the following issues: adoption process through administrative adjudication; creation of the National Child Care Authority (NCCA) that will process the adoption of children; and regulation of institutional and residential care of children.

The various measures on Alternative Child Care Code, seek to address the worsening problem of “unadoptable” and overage children not fit for adoption due the long and complicated process of domestic and inter-country adoption.

Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, author of HB 5090 and former Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), noted that when the law on adoption was enacted in 1995, stricter rules imposed to protect children from prevent children from being victims of human trafficking and other crimes.

By codifying the various laws on alternative child care, the various measures envision a “one-stop-shop” code to facilitate the process to the best interest of every child available for adoption and/or foster care.

Under the various proposals, the NCCA is mandated to facilitate the adoption process. It shall be the sole authority to accept, evaluate and decide all applications for local and inter-country adoption.

The proposed NCCA is likewise tasked to formulate and develop policies on adoption, foster care, guardianship leading to adoption and other alternative child care policies, programs and services that will protect the Filipino child from abuse, exploitation, trafficking and adoption practice which are harmful, detrimental and prejudicial to the best interest of the child.

Included in the various proposals are penalties for violation of the law, such as imprisonment ranging from six years and one day to 12 years and/or a fine of P50,000 to P200,000, at the discretion of the court.

These penalties shall be imposed on any person who commit any of the following acts: 1) obtaining consent for an adoption through coercion, undue influence, fraud, improper material inducement, or other similar acts; 2) non- compliance with the procedures and safeguards provided by law for the adoption; or 3) subjecting or imposing the child to be adopted to danger, abuse or exploitation.

Under the proposed measures, the NCAA, with the Council of the Welfare of Children (CWC), the Office of the Civil Registry General (OCRG), the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DOF), shall promulgate necessary rules and regulations to implement the provisions of the Act within six months after its effectivity.

Representatives of the DSWD, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and non-governmental organization SOS Children’s Village have expressed support for the creation of the NCCA.

Authors of the other measures up for consideration by the TWG are Reps. Karlo Alexei Nograles, Ma. Lourdes Acosta-Alba, and Evelina Escudero.

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