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PIA Press Release
2009/02/17

Simplified legal adoption process pushed

by Jemin B. Guillermo

Roxas City (17 February) -- Persons who wanted to legally adopt a child will not anymore undergo a complicated adoption process.

This came after the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill requiring a certification from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) declaring a child legally available for adoption as a prerequisite for adoption proceedings.

The simplification of the legal adoption process is also timely as the country celebrates the Adoption Consciousness Week from February 16 to 22 with the theme "Legal Adoption: Pagmamahal sa Batang Pinoy."

House Bill 10 simplifies the adoption proceedings by transferring the resolution of the Declaration of Abandonment cases to the DSWD, changing the nature of the proceeding from judicial to administrative, the House of Representatives' online news said.

Under the present law, the declaration of abandonment is secured by virtue of a judicial order, the news said, adding that although summary in nature, the judicial proceeding takes a substantial amount of time because it is among the least of the priorities in court dockets.

Accordingly, this prevents the early placement of neglected, orphaned and abandoned children for adoption.

Under the bill, for an abandoned child to be considered legally available for adoption, the child caring agency or child placing institution having in its custody an abandoned child must file a petition for certification to declare such child legally available for adoption.

The petition, in the form of an affidavit, shall state the circumstances surrounding the abandonment of the child and supported by documents such as the case study made by the DSWD, licensed and accredited child caring agency or child placement agency charged with the custody of the child.

Likewise, the petition shall also show proof that efforts were made to locate the parent(s) or any known relatives, birth certificate/founding certificate and recent photograph of the child.

The petition shall be filed with the DSWD office in the region where the child was found or abandoned. The DSWD regional officer shall then act on the said petition and make his/her recommendations, which shall be transmitted to the Office of the Secretary.

The DSWD Secretary shall review the petition and, after which, issue a certification declaring the child legally available for adoption if such a petition were found to be meritorious.

In case of voluntary commitment as contemplated in Article 154 of Presidential Decree No. 603, the DSWD Secretary shall issue the certification declaring the child legally available for adoption within three months following the filing of the Deed of Voluntary Commitment signed by the parents with the DSWD.

The bill imposes a fine of P100,000 on any person, institution, or agency that shall cause a child's adoption or any form of alternative home placement without the DSWD certification that the child is legally available for adoption. (PIA) [top]

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