Adopting children in the Philippines could soon become a simpler process if a senator’s proposals are passed.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has welcomed a plan by Senator Grace Poe to simplify the “complex and tedious process” of adoption in the country.
DSWD chief Emmanuel Leyco said: “From the point of view of the DSWD, should that bill becomes a law, I think we are prepared to enforce that, to implement that.”
Senator Poe earlier said she planned to file a bill that would make the adoption process more administrative in nature, and the adoption procedure would be under the management of DSWD rather than the legal system.
“So by filing this bill we will make the process just administrative to correct it without any prejudice for the parents if they were thinking of the welfare of the child,” she said.
The senator also said she intended to file a bill that would help in correcting ‘simulated births’.
Birth simulation or the tampering of the civil registry birth records of a child — which causes the child to lose his or her true identity — is currently prohibited under Republic Act 8552 or the Act Establishing the Rules and Policies on the Domestic Adoption of Filipino Children.
With a bill correcting birth simulations, the rectification of the child’s birth records will give the child all the benefits of adoption and ensure that their status as well as their rights under the law are guaranteed.
The DSWD has lamented that the problem on birth simulation happens when some adoptive parents prefer tampering to avoid the tedious process of going to court and avoid the hassle of the adoption process.
Inter Agency Council Adoption Board (ICAB) executive director Attorney Bernadette Abejo said: “But the solution really is to come up with the simpler system, an administrative system where it won’t be so expensive.”
Ms Abejo added that getting lawyers who do not demand expensive fees could also be a good option.
“But if you want to put it on the proposed bill that will make it administrative, you will have a group of child welfare specialists from different fields. We have NGOs, social workers, doctors, psychologists who would make the proper decision and a better decision that the child should be adopted by this specific couple,” she said.
Edmond Macaso, an adoptive parent, said he himself had gone through the tedious processes including facing court prosecutors.
“But I think what they really mean is the fact that they are going to court and it’s a tedious process and it doesn’t feel normal because you are going to a court and justify,” he explained.
Based on the social welfare department’s records, out of 752 children placed for adoption in 2017, only 387 of them were placed in adoptive families.
According to a 2016 report, the Philippines was said to have 1.8 million abandoned children.