Bill on correction of birth records passed

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The House Social Services panel has approved a measure that will allow parents and guardians to correct simulated birth records in a span of ten years sans liability to ease adoption proceedings, among others.

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The unnumbered substitute bill specifically seeks to rectify the simulated birth records and prescribe administrative adoption proceedings, as well as extend the prescriptive period for the rectification of simulated births by amending Republic Act No. 8552 or the “Domestic Adoption Act of 1998.”

The proposal amends the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998 by providing for a ten-year amnesty period to enable people to legalize the relationships with children they supposedly adopted.

The bill also has a provision for administrative adoption where petitions for rectification and petitions for adoption could be filed with the local social welfare and development office. The decision will then depend upon the evaluation made by the regional directors of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, appealable to the DSWD Secretary.

A simulation of birth refers to the tampering of the civil registry to make it appear on the record of birth that a child was born to a person who is not a child’s biological mother, causing such child to lose his or her identity and status.

Rectification of simulated births, on the other hand, is provided for under Domestic Adoption Act of 1998 but the prescribed five-year period for the rectification of simulated births ended in 2003.

“Many well-meaning and mostly poor Filipinos who wish to adopt a child as their own resorted to the practice of simulating birth. This bill will grant poor people an easier and less expensive way to legalize their supposed adoption,” Rep. Xavier Romualdo of Camiguin said in his sponsorship speech on the measure.

The same bill also amends the Domestic Adoption law by sparing the person who simulated the birth of a child from any liability, provided that the simulation of birth was made for the best interest of the child and that he/she has been consistently considered and treated by that person as his/her own daughter.

Furthermore, a person who simulated a birth won’t be punished if the application for correction of the birth registration and petition for adoption will filed within 20 years from the effectivity of the proposed law, provided that an individual complies with the procedure as specified in Article of this Act and the requirements as determined by the DSWD.

“The current system of adoption has proven tedious and expensive for many parents who wanted to adopt, making the practice of simulation of birth has become a convenient alternative. More than providing amnesty for criminal and pecuniary liabilities, the purpose of the law is not for the parents but for the protection of the child,” Rep. Rene Relampagos of Bohol pointed out.

“The rectification of the child’s birth records will give the child all the benefits of adoption and ensure his/her status as well as his/her rights under the law and society,” he added.

Another author and former president and now Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga, for her part, included that the administrative adoption proceedings should not be limited to those who are rectifying simulated birth records.

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