House OKs bill recognizing foundlings as natural-born Filipinos
Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez of Tingog party-list and chair of the House committee on the welfare of children, said House Bill 7679 entitles all foundlings to a Certificate of Live Birth just like everybody else instead of the foundling certificate that is issued now.
STAR/Boy Santos, file
House OKs bill recognizing foundlings as natural-born Filipinos
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - October 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure that seeks to recognize foundlings as natural-born Filipino citizens since the current set-up makes, it hard for them to conduct official transactions in government.

Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez of Tingog party-list and chair of the House committee on the welfare of children, said House Bill 7679 entitles all foundlings to a Certificate of Live Birth just like everybody else instead of the foundling certificate that is issued now.

“This non-issuance has left on them a stigma that they carry all their lives and has resulted in discrimination, especially when a birth certificate is required when enrolling for school admission, applying for a job and even in being issued a passport,” she said.

The measure seeks to promote the rights of foundlings or abandoned children with unknown parents, protect their status as natural-born Filipino citizens and penalize acts inimical to their welfare.

Romualdez said HB 7679 (Foundling Welfare Act) would provide foundlings with equal privileges and protection against discrimination and the necessary support services, including registration, facilitation of documents for adoption, education, legal and police protection, proper nourishment and medical care and admission to safe and secure child centers.

Rep. Ronnie Ong of party-list Ang Probinsiyano – another principal author – revealed the measure also carries with it a retroactive effect, which means all foundlings, including those who have been issued foundling certificates, will now be issued birth certificates.

The administration lawmaker likewise lamented that present laws have been requiring children to present physical proof of blood relation to a Filipino parent before he or she is considered a natural-born citizen.

“For the simple reason that they don’t have their own (certificate) of live birth, our laws have closed the door for them to enjoy a lot of what it means to be a Filipino – they can’t enroll in schools, apply for jobs, file for marriage, get a driver’s license and passport,” Ong said.

If the measure is enacted into law, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be mandated to conduct proactive and diligent inquiry into the facts of birth and parentage of the foundlings.

The DSWD must prepare an exhaustive report and, thereafter, apply for the registration of the abandoned children with the Local Civil Registrar, which would issue their birth certificates.

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