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GMA News: RP child adoption bill passes bicam

Posted by FAN Admin in International/Adoption Philippines, News on 12 18th, 2008

RP child adoption bill passes bicam

12/18/2008 | 11:47 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Before adjourning for the Christmas break Wednesday, lawmakers from both houses of Congress passed a measure facilitating the adoption of abandoned children.

The measure, which will now go to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for signing into law, seeks the transfer of cases involving the declaration of a child legally available for adoption from the Family Courts to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“I’m so glad that Senate Bill 2391 is one step closer to being a law. Para sa’kin daig pa nito ang pagkapanalo ni Pacquiao (To me, this is a victory greater than that of Pacquiao)!” said Sen. Ana Consuelo Madrigal, who chairs the committee on youth, women and family
relations, in a statement on the Senate website.

“Being a human rights advocate most especially that of children makes this development a personal victory. Every little step we make leads us to helping uplift the lives of these abandoned, neglected and surrendered children for adoption,” she added.

Once signed into law, the measure changes the nature of this proceeding from judicial to administrative, and reduces the period before the child may be considered legally available for adoption to a maximum of three months from the original minimum of six months.

“These children live in a bleak, desperate world made more tragic by laws which hinder their chances to find a fresh start in loving homes. As a legislator, I must do everything I could to try to demolish the legal obstacles that prevent orphans and the abandoned to secure what we take for granted,” Madrigal said.

Citing DSWD records, she said that in Eastern Visayas alone, the number of reported abandoned children rose from 44 in 2005 to 51 and 53 in 2008 and 2007 respectively.

At present, these children are only considered abandoned if they have been deserted by their parents for six straight months.

But in the meantime, these children are in danger of fending for themselves in the streets and are vulnerable to drug addiction, crimes and sexual trafficking.

Madrigal said the measure seeks to remove legal handicaps in existing laws that prolong the neglect of these children.

It facilitates early placement of abandoned children by giving the DSWD the authority to issue a certification declaring the child legally available for adoption as a prerequisite to all adoption

The bill limits the period for the child to be declared legally available for adoption from almost three years in court proceedings to less than two months.

Madrigal said this is “a landmark bill” for children’s rights advocates like herself who believe that the Filipino children are the hope of this nation.

“Every child has a right to a family. Let us not deny them that by removing legal handicaps,” she said. – GMANews.TV