“No legal adoption may take place through social media or any other means.”
This was the message of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista during the 20th Adoption Consciousness Celebration (ACC) at DSWD Central Office on February 9 to encourage public action against the increasing number of fake Facebook pages involved in illegal adoption of children.
“The adoption process should be strictly complied with. Adoption cannot be affected by merely surrendering the custody of a child to another person. The process for legal adoption must start through legitimate child caring/placing organizations or local social welfare offices which will then forward the matter to DSWD and there must be a verified petition filed before the competent court,” Secretary Bautista explained
The ACC, chaired by the DSWD, is an annual celebration to call for public awareness and support on the importance of the legal adoption process, and the rights of surrendered, orphaned, abandoned, and neglected Filipino children to have families that will shower them with unconditional love, protection, and support. It is mandated by Proclamation No. 72 which was signed on February 3, 1999, by then President Joseph Estrada. This year’s ACC was held from February 9 to 17, 2019 with the theme, “Pagmamahal Palaganapin, Legal na Pag-aampon ating gawin (Spread Unconditional Love through Legal Adoption).”
“Ang adoption o pag-aampon ay isang proseso o paraan upang ang isang batang inabandona o pinabayaan ay magkaroon ng isang tahanang mag-aaruga at magmamahal sa kanila. Adoption will give the parentless a chance of having not only a decent life but one that is well guided and protected by both the prospective parents and the state itself. Ang pag-aampon ay hindi lamang nakakatulong sa mga bata ngunit naisasakatuparan din nito ang pangarap ng mga magasawa na hindi nabiyayaan ng anak na magkaroon ng isang kumpletong pamilya,” the Secretary added.
The Department also urged the public to report to authorities any person or group who is involved in simulation ofthe birth or the tampering of the birth registry documents of children.
Simulation of birth, which commonly happens in hospitals and lying-in clinics around the country, is a criminal offense under Republic Act No. 8552 or the “Domestic Adoption Act of 1998” and is punishable by six years and one day to 12 years imprisonment, and/or a fine not exceeding P50,000.
Meanwhile, media practitioners, representatives from government agencies, non-government organizations, and people’s organizations participated in a media forum to discuss updates on the legal adoption process.
One of the notable issues discussed during the forum was the proposed “Simulated Birth Rectification Act of 2018.” The proposed law “grants amnesty and allows the rectification of the simulated birth of a child 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 or persons who simulated such birth as her, his, or their own daughter or son.”
When the bill becomes a law, adoptive parents who simulated the birth record of their adopted child will be required to file an application for the rectification of the simulated birth certificate of the adopted child along with a petition for adoption within 10 years from the effectivity of the Act.
Likewise, through the measure, the legal process of adoption will be hastened since petitioners may no longer have to go through the judicial process, and will only be required to undergo the administrative phase of adoption with the DSWD.
Number of children placed for adoption
From 2010 to 2018, DSWD facilitated the placement of 2,191 children for domestic adoption.
The Department reiterates that its adoption services are free. However, applicants who want to adopt will shoulder the cost of legal services and necessary documents. Those who want to inquire about legal adoption are encouraged to contact any DSWD-Field Office located around the country