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Prez Duterte OKs bill that would simplify adoption process

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte played the role of ‘Santa Claus’ to children with cancer (Photo courtesy: MindaVote)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has approved a bill that would simplify the adoption process and grant amnesty to those who tampered records to make it appear that a child was born to a person who is not the biological mother.

Duterte signed Republic Act 11222 or the Simulated Birth Rectification Act on February 21 but was only released to media on Thursday, March 14. The new law would allow the rectification of the simulated birth of a child, in which the simulation was made for the best interest of the child.

The new law grants the simulation of the birth record which refers to the “tampering of the civil registry to make it appear in the record of birth that a child was born to a person who is not such a child’s biological mother, and causing the loss of the true identity and status of such child.” It would also fix the status and filiation of a child whose birth was simulated by giving such child all the benefits of adoption and ensuring that he or she would be entitled to all rights provided to legally-adopted children.

It also aims to provide for a simpler and less costly administrative adoption proceeding that will apply to children who have been living with persons who simulated their birth record for at least three years.

Under the law, a person who simulated a child’s birth and who cooperated in doing so shall not be criminally, civilly or administratively liable provided that it was made for the best interest of the child and the child has been consistently considered and treated by the person as his or her own son or daughter. To avail of the amnesty, the person should have filed a petition for adoption with an application for the rectification of the simulated birth record within ten years from the effectivity of the law.

A person who simulated the birth of a child may avail of adoption proceedings and rectify the birth record if the child has been living with the person for at least three years before the law took effect. Also required is a social welfare department-issued certificate declaring the child legally available for adoption.

What are the requirements? 

The new law requires adopters must be Filipino citizens, of legal age, possess the full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children and capable of supporting the child.

However, for couples by which one of the adopters is a foreigner married to a Filipino, the foreigner must have been residing in the Philippines for at least three years before the filing of the petition for adoption. Instead of going through court proceedings, those who seek to adopt a child may file a petition with the social welfare and development officer of the city or town where the child lives. The social welfare secretary shall decide on the petition within 30 days from receipt of the recommendation of the agency’s regional director.

Once the requirements are fulfilled, the adopted child would be considered a legitimate son or daughter and will be entitled to all rights and obligations provided by law.

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