Describing it as a “win” for children and their adoptive parents, Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday hailed the passage into law of a measure simplifying the adoption process in the country.
“This is a win for our children but most especially, for adoptive parents. We all know the hardships that adoptive parents experience under the old process of adoption,” Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality, said in a statement.
“A lot of well-meaning Filipinos want to adopt a child but they are being hampered by the slow process. Under this measure, we hope to hasten and make the process of making a family simpler,” she said.
On Thursday, Malacañang announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law Republic Act (RA) 11642, or the Domestic Administrative Adoption and Child Care Act (NAAC).
The Senator, who authored the bill in the Senate, explained the “main innovation” of RA 11642 is the removal of the judicial requirements and the lodging of the adoption process under the National Authority for Child Care (NACC) — a one-stop agency that would make the adoption process simple, expeditious, and inexpensive.
This, she said, eases and speeds up the adoption process to only up to six to nine months, compared to its previous pace of one to three years.
With the enactment, Hontiveros hopes there would be fewer illegal adoption cases in the Philippines, and individuals wanting to be parents would not feel the need to circumvent the law and undertake informal adoption.
“It does take a village to raise a child. The cooperation between groups and sectors to make this law possible is one evidence. Of course, its enactment is one proof that being a parent does not solely rely on being blood-related but on the depth of love that we can give to our children,” she said.
Under RA 11642, the Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) to be restructured as NACC will be mandated to serve as a one-stop quasi-judicial agency on alternative child care.
All duties, functions, and responsibilities of the ICAB, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and other government agencies relating to alternative child care and adoption will be transferred to its authority.
The newly-formed body is also tasked to identify children who are “legally available” for both domestic administrative adoption and inter-country adoption, foster care, kinship care, family-like care, or residential care.
The measure also penalizes individuals exposing the child to be adopted to “danger, abuse, or exploitation,” as well as the fictitious registration of the birth of a child under the name of a person who is not the child’s biological parent.