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Arroyo cites plight of 'unadoptable' kids.

Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has filed a bill calling attention to the plight of neglected and overage children who are considered 'not fit for adoption' here or abroad.

The bill simplifies the adoption process for abandoned children and raises the age of children available for intercountry adoption to below 18 years old from the current limit of below 15.

Under House Bill No. 5090, Arroyo has also proposed to put all legislation related to the care of abandoned and neglected children in one law to streamline the proceedings.

Her bill decriminalizes 'simulated births' as long as it is done in the best interest of the child and the child is treated well. Simulated births refer to the practice of tampering with civil registry records to make it appear a certain child was born to a person who is not their biological mother.

'The government has to step up its drive to solve the worsening problem of 'unadoptable' and overage children 'not fit for adoption' due to the long and complicated process of domestic and intercountry adoption,' the former deputy speaker said in a statement.

'This bill seeks to address this problem by creating a 'one-stop-shop code' whereby those who seek to adopt and/or foster care will be easily facilitated to the best interest of every child available for adoption and/or foster care,' Arroyo said.

There are about 1.8 million abandoned children in the Philippines, she said, citing figures from the United Nations Children's Rights and Emergency Relief Organization.

To facilitate the adoption process, Arroyo's bill provides for the creation of a National Child Care Authority (NCCA) that will serve as the sole authority to accept, evaluate and decide all applications for local and intercountry adoption.

'[With] the establishment of NCCA, implementing the various alternative child care laws to be known as the 'Alternative Child Care Code' will not only improve and speed up the process of adoption, foster care and guardianship but will also increase its fiscal capacity thereby improving its services offered to stakeholders,' she said.

Once approved, the NCCA shall be headed by an executive director and shall have separate divisions for domestic and intercountry adoption.

Both divisions shall create and maintain a database of all children available for adoption as well as adoptive parents, facilitate matching and provide assistance to all stakeholders involved in adoption and foster care, Arroyo said.

She also wants to make foster care a mandatory program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development to protect the welfare of abandoned, abused and neglected children under the case of foster families prior to their adoption or return to their biological parents.

Her bill penalizes anyone who commits any misrepresentation in the adoption proceedings as well as subjection of the child to be adopted to danger, abuse or exploitation.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 14, 2017
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