DSWD bats for heightened awareness on legal adoption among Pinoys
By Ma. Teresa Montemayor
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) cited the importance of educating Filipinos about legal adoption, its importance and its processes, as it opened the observance of Adoption Consciousness Week from February 9 to 17.
In his speech Saturday, DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Delizo Bautista defined adoption as socio-legal process of providing a permanent family to a child whose parents have died or relinquished parental authority over the child, voluntarily or involuntarily.
Bautista lauded the love and commitment of adoptive parents and foster parents who have partnered and continue to partner with DSWD for many years.
“Ang pag-aaruga ng isang bata na hindi mo kadugo ay pagpapahayag ng mas malalim na uri pagmamahal. Ngunit, maraming nag-iisip na mahal ang pag-aampon pero ang aming ahensya ay gumagawa ng paraan para mapaayos at mapadali ang proseso ng legal na pag-aampon (Taking care of a child who’s not your own is an expression of a deeper kind of love. However, many think that adoption is expensive but our agency is doing something to put legal adoption in order and make it easier),” he said.
Citing increased cases of illegal online adoption, Bautista said the social welfare department is keen on educating the public about the requirements, rules, and other key information on legal adoption.
“Maglagay po kami ng adoption help desk sa selected Shoe Mart malls pati sa mga piling simbahan, mga anunsiyo at guestings sa telebisyon at radyo tungkol sa pag-aampon at pagpapalaganap ng mga tagumpay na istorya ng pag-aampon at paggamit ng social media para maipalaganap ang kahalagahan ng legal pagaampon (We’ll place adoption help desks at selected Shoe Mart malls and selected churches, announcements and guestings in television and radio about adoption and spreading successful adoption stories and use of social media to spread the importance of legal adoption),” he said.
For her part, DSWD Undersecretary for Operations Aimee Torrefranca–Neri urged her colleagues to help make legal adoption easier and more accessible to couples and individuals who want to be adoptive parents.
“Dahil naging experience ko din ‘yan (Because I have also experienced it) when I was a lawyer handling adoption cases and it really involved a tedious process and some would resort to falsify the birth certificates to shorten the adoption process,” he said.
“To the operations group (of DSWD), release the guidelines making the process shortened and cut off the redundant processes of adoption, in line with the call of the president to ease of doing business and to ensure that policies of the state against human trafficking is also safeguarded to protect the children. We have to strike a balance,” she added.
Neri said DSWD’s operations team will be coordinating with the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) to make legal adoption more affordable.
“Perhaps, we could forge a memorandum of agreement to come up with a free legal representation and make it a priority for the PAO lawyers to represent adoption parents,” she said.
The Philippine Domestic Adoption Act of 1998 or Republic Act 8552 has established the rules for adoption.
It mandates the DSWD to provide adoption counseling services for adoptive parents, adoptees, and biological parents who voluntarily gave up their parental authority.
Meanwhile, the Foster Care Act or Republic Act 10165 in 2012 mandates the “provision of planned temporary substitute parental care.”
Through the Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995 or Republic Act of 1995, adopters overseas are given the chance to adopt Filipino children.
DSWD implements inter-country adoption as a last resort after all means of seeking domestic adoption for a child have been exhausted. It undergoes the same thorough legal procedure before its approval. (PNA)