To drumbeat attention for legal adoption advocacy in the Philippines, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in collaboration with partner -government agencies and child caring and placement institutions, will lead the observance of the 2018 Adoption Consciousness Celebration (ACC) this coming February 10-18.
The week-long activity highlights the theme, “Pagmamahal Palaganapin, Legal na Pag-aampon Ating Gawin! (Spread Unconditional Love through Legal Adoption),” which reiterates the call to ensure that orphaned, neglected, abandoned, and surrendered children are provided with the secure, permanent and loving homes which they deserve.
“At the heart of adoption is the aspiration to build homes filled with happiness, security, respect and unconditional love between people who are unrelated by blood,” said DSWD Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Emmanuel A. Leyco.
“It still has to be said, however, that regardless of how good the intentions of adoptive parents are, it is still the best interest of the children they take into their homes to be legally adopted. This guarantees that both adoptive parents and adoptees will be assigned mutual responsibilities. In the meantime, the actual process of adoption that both parties will have to undergo ensures that adoptive children are granted the same rights that biological children have,” he explained.
To launch the celebration, a “Walk for Legal Adoption” will be held at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA), Pasay City on February 10. It will be followed by a gathering of adoptive families and adopted children.
Afterwards, a press conference will be conducted with legal adoption experts, families and advocates, including DSWD OIC Leyco and Senator Grace Poe.
The DSWD with organization members of the Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines (ACCAP) will also open Adoption Help Desks on selected malls around the country on February 17 and 18.
Say NO to illegal forms of adoption
Aside from the promotion of legal adoption, the National Organizing Committee (NOC), led by the DSWD, wants to broaden the scope of its public warnings against fake Facebook groups, accounts and pages facilitating the illegal adoption of children.
“We enjoin the public to help us in our efforts to end illegal adoption facilitated through social media networks because it’s tantamount to child trafficking. Illegal adoption should be stopped because it’s a practice that endangers the lives of children and adoptive parents, ” OIC Leyco warned.
OIC Leyco also batted for reinforced inter-agency coordination to prevent birth simulation.
“Tampering with the civil registry of children is a criminal offense that has great repercussions; for instance, children whose civil registration status have been tampered with are deprived of their rights to know their real identity,” he said.
“It is the duty of those of us in government to ensure sure that the rights of children are upheld and protected. We urge our partners to help protect the credibility, security, and efficiency of the legal adoption process so that prospective adoptive parents will go through the legal process of adoption and be discouraged against undergoing birth simulation,” said OIC Leyco.
Under the law, simulation of birth and tampering with the civil registry of a child is a criminal offense that may lead to six years and one day to 12 years imprisonment, and/or a fine not exceeding P50,000.
Call for legal adoption
“There are still many children who are still waiting for their forever homes and we urge families to open their lives and spread unconditional love for them through the legal process of adoption,” the OIC said.
From 2009 to 2017, the DSWD has already issued 6,433 Certification Declaring a Child Legally Available for Adoption (CDCLAA).
For the same period, the Intercountry Adoption Board (ICAB) received a total of 3,944 children cleared for inter-country adoption and 3,660 children matched for inter-country adoption.
Meanwhile, from 2010 to 2017, the DSWD facilitated the placement of 1,818 children for domestic adoption.
Those who are interested to know more about the legal process of adoption, or want to adopt or foster a child, may call the following DSWD Offices and child placement agencies:
1. DSWD- Central Office
IBP Road, BatasanPambansa Complex, Constitution Hills, Quezon City
Tel. No. 951-7438 (Protective Services Bureau-Child Protection and Placement Division)
2. DSWD Field Office – NCR
289 San Rafael Street, Legarda, Manila
Tel. # 488-2754 (Adoption Resource and Referral Unit)
3. DSWD Field Office – IV-CALABARZON
AlabangZapote Road, Muntinlupa
Tel. # 850-8380; 387-2632
4. DSWD Field Office – IV-MIMAROPA
1680 F.T. Benitez corner, General Malvar St. Malate, Manila
Tel. # 523-6077 loc. 205
5. Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, Inc.
No. 56, 10 th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City
Tel # 912-1159/60
6. Norfil Foundation, Inc.
No. 16 Mother Ignacia Avenue, Cor., Roces Avenue, Quezon City
Tel # 372-3577/79 local or 373-2169
7. Inter-Country Adoption Board
No. 2 Chicago Cor. Ermin Garcia Streets, Barangay Pinagkaisahan, Cubao,
Tel. # 721-9782; 726-4551; 727-2026