MANILA—As part of the government’s advocacy for protecting and upholding the rights of every child, the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) teamed up to raise awareness on legal adoption of children.
“Legal na Ampon Ako: Anak na Totoo” brought together DepEd school officials, teachers, child-caring partners, and adoption agencies in a forum to bring focus on the processes required of adoption.
Adoption is recognized as a tool to protect and uphold the rights of a child as mandated by United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund’s (UNICEF) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
“Adopted children may be very vulnerable at some point in their lives, so it is important for schools to offer them a caring environment where they will feel safe, accepted, loved, and not discriminated against,” according to DepEd Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages Mario A. Deriquito.
Speaking about the CRC’s guiding principles and the rights of a child to survival and development, protection, and participation, Association of Child-Caring Agencies (ACCAP) president Atty. Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana called for immediate attention to the needs of children.
Pimentel-Gana added that children need protection not only because they are entitled to the same human rights as adults, but also because their dependence on adults cause their opinions and needs to be ignored or overlooked as trivial.
Rosalie D. Dagulo, OIC-Assistant Director of DSWD’s Protective Services Bureau, reiterated the social, administrative, and legal processes required in adopting a child, starting with the issuance of a DSWD Certification Declaring a Child Legally Available for Adoption (CDCLAA).
The CDCLAA is a certificate that is issued after a thorough process of ensuring that an abandoned (foundlings included), surrendered, or neglected child is no longer reinstatable to his or her biological family. Only after this would the process of legal adoption—which includes application of interested parents, preparation of home study report, screening of applications, matching or family selection, pre-placement and placement of child, supervised trial custody, finalization of adoption, and issuance of adoption documents—commence.
Intercountry Adoption Board (IAB) Executive Director Atty. Bernadette B. Abejo emphasized the need to be cautious of usual illegal adoption cases like “simulation of birth” (or tampering of the civil registry to indicate the adopting parents’ names on the birth certificate, thus doing away with the legal obligations of adopting), which may also lead to child trafficking.
“But there is so much hope for these children (on the streets),” Abejo said, mentioning how the IAB’s precise process of matching potential adoptive parents from different countries with qualified children has changed the lives of Filipino adoptees.
Chaired by DSWD, other organizing committee members for this adoption consciousness effort are child caring/placement agencies such as Norfil Foundation Inc., CRIBS Foundation, and Kaisahang Buhay Foundation Inc., ACCAP, local government units (LGUs), and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).