Photo 1: Supporters march to promote promote unconditional love through legal adoption during the kick off event of the 2018 Adoption Consciousness Celebration at SM By the Bay, Mall of Asia (MOA) Complex. Photo 2: Legal adoption advocates led by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Emmanuel A. Leyco (middle) and Senator Grace Poe (middle right) discuss measures on how to simplify and hasten legal adoption procedures in the Philippines, and to remove the social stigma of adoption.

Photo 1: Supporters march to promote promote unconditional love through legal adoption during the kick off event of the 2018 Adoption Consciousness Celebration at SM By the Bay, Mall of Asia (MOA) Complex.
Photo 2: Legal adoption advocates led by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Emmanuel A. Leyco (middle) and Senator Grace Poe (middle right) discuss measures on how to simplify and hasten legal adoption procedures in the Philippines, and to remove the social stigma of adoption.

To celebrate a different but special kind of love this February, hundreds of adoptive families, legal adoption supporters, and advocates held a parade in tribute to the love that exists between parents and children unrelated by blood during the “Walk for Legal Adoption” at the SM By the Bay, Mall of Asia Complex over the weekend.

The activity  kicked off  the 2018 Adoption Consciousness Celebration which highlights the theme, “Pagmamahal Palaganapin, Legal na Pag-aampon ating Gawin!” or “Spread Unconditional Love through Legal Adoption.”

It was attended by  representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), Department of Education (DepEd), other national government agencies, and partner child placement and caring organizations

“Malugod na binabati ng DSWD ang mga partner agencies at sa mga partner -organizations na nagtataguyod ng legal adoption upang mabigyan natin nang mapag-arugang tahanan ang mga bata na hindi nagkapalad na isilang sa mga pamilyang kaya silang alagaan at mahalin sa paraang kailangan nila. (We congratulate our partner agencies and partner organizations because of their dedication to promote legal adoption and to provide homes to children who were not fortunate to be born to parents who could love and take care of them the way they deserve),” said DSWD Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Emmanuel A.Leyco in his message at the kick-off event.

 “Patuloy po tayong magkaisa at magtulungan upang mabigyan po natin ng isang mapag-aruga at mapagkalingang tahanan ang ating mga kabataan (Let us continue to work together so that we can give the children a caring and loving home),” he added.

 Streamline legal adoption

 After the walk, a press conference was held which was attended by DSWD OIC Leyco, Senator Grace Poe, DSWD Protective Services Bureau (PSB) Director Ma. Alicia Bonoan, Atty. Sandra Urbiztondo from the DSWD Legal Service, ICAB Executive Director Atty. Bernadette Abejo, adoptive parents Mr. Edmund and Mrs. Ofelia Macaso, adoptive mother Ms. LJ Alapag, and Nathan Pante, an adoptee.

 The discussion focused on the measures to streamline the legal adoption process in the Philippines and how to prevent simulated birth and eliminate the stigma of adoption.

 As she recalled the experience of her adoptive parents to legalize her adoption, Sen. Poe discussed the need to make adoption an administrative process instead of allowing the courts to finalize the legal adoption process.

 “I believe in the last Congress, we filed it but we need to re-file. It is something to make adoption an administrative process as supposed to going to the courts,” she said.

 DSWD OIC Leyco supported the measure and said that the bill can help simplify and hasten the legal adoption process, as well as, to make it less expensive so that more Filipino families who want to adopt will be encouraged to do it the right and legal way.

 “We can assure you that the DSWD has the capability, the expertise, and the dedication and commitment to make sure that the legal adoption process is carried out successfully,”  he said.

 He also confirmed that domestic adoption rates are rising but shared that DSWD and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) are working together to resolve this concern as there are still many children who are waiting for their forever homes in shelters and institutions.

 “We should make the institutions stronger and make legal adoption a more accessible process in the Philippines and to eliminate, if not lessen, the stigma of adoption,” he said.

 DSWD OIC  also called on the public to participate in the month-long celebration by using the official hashtag, “AdoptionIsLove” and “#LegalAdoption” and encouraged those who want to legally adopt to inquire about the process in participating malls around the country on February 17 and 18. ###