Arroyo signs adoption bill into law
By Joel Guinto, Maila Ager
First Posted 12:09:00 03/12/2009
MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed on Thursday a law making the process of adopting a child shorter and simpler.
Under Republic Act 9523, the time period before a child is considered abandoned has been shortened from six months to three, Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral said.
The authority to declare a child abandoned and free from adoption has also been transferred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) from the courts, Cabral.
This will shorten the declaration of a child as legally free for adoption to 24 days from the completion of requirements, from the one year it used to take in court, she said.
Under the law, a certification from the DSWD is required before a child can be adopted, she said.
“The law, ‘An Act Requiring the Certification of the DSWD to Declare a Child Legally Available for Adoption,’ provides shorter and simplified procedures by transferring the process of the declaration of abandonment of children to the DSWD,” she said in a statement.
Among those present during the signing at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang were the authors of the law, Senator Ana Consuelo Madrigal and Negros Occidental Representative Jose Carlos Lacson.
Republic Act 9523 amended Republic Act 8552 or the Domestic Adoption Act.
Madrigal, chairman of the Senate committee on youth, women and family relations, called the enactment of the “landmark law” a “personal victory” for children’s rights advocates like her.
“Being a human rights advocate, most especially [of] children, makes this development a personal victory,” she said in a statement on Thursday. “Every little step we make leads us to helping uplift the lives of these abandoned, neglected and surrendered children for adoption.”
Before the new law, Madrigal said, abandoned children “live[d] in a bleak, desperate world made more tragic by laws which hinder their chances to find a fresh start in loving homes.”
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