Panel seeks to simplify adoption process

Children at the White Cross orphanage in Manila. (Carter Martin image)

A Senate panel is pushing for the simplification of adoption process of a child by allowing the rectification of simulated births through a simpler administrative proceeding.

Birth simulation, according to Senate Bill (SB) 2081 contained in Committee Report 498, 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 the child’s biological mother.

The report was jointly prepared by the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality chaired by Sen. Risa Hontiveros and the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development chaired by Sen. Leila de Lima, and filed on 22 October 2018.

SB 2081 is a substitution of SB 1725, introduced by Sen. Grace Poe and SB 1728 prepared by Hontiveros and De Lima. Its counterpart measure, House Bill No. 5675, was approved by the House of Representatives on 29 August last year and was transmitted to the Senate two days later.

Entitled “Simulated Birth Rectification Act of 2018,” the measure aims “to grant amnesty and allow the rectification of the simulated birth of a child where simulation was made for the best interest of the child, and that such child has been consistently considered and treated by the person” who considered the child as his or her own.

Instead of going through the courts, those who will file a petition may do so through the Social Welfare and Development Officer of the city or municipality where the child resides.

The Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development shall decide on the petition within 30 days from receipt of the recommendation of the department’s regional director.

Under the measure, those who simulated the birth record of a child should be exempt from criminal, civil and administrative liability provided that the application to rectify a simulated birth record should be filed within 10 years from the effectivity of the measure.

After all the requirements for administrative adoption have been met, the child shall be considered the legitimate child of a person and as such is entitled to all rights and obligations provided by law to legitimate children.

Poe, herself a foundling adopted by the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, said that the measure, if passed into law, will give the adoptive parents the opportunity to have the status of their adopted child or children regularized in law.

“It is also in the best interest of the parents and the children to have the records rectified for possible future uses such as medical or DNA purposes or for other legal matters,” she said.

p: wjg