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Law recognizes foundlings as natural-born Filipinos

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Law recognizes foundlings as natural-born Filipinos
“A foundling found in the Philippines and/or Philippine embassies, consulates and territories abroad is presumed a natural-born Filipino citizen regardless of the status or circumstances of birth,” the law states.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has signed a law that provides greater protection for deserted or abandoned children and recognizing them as natural-born Filipinos.

Republic Act (RA) 11767, or the Foundling Recognition and Protection Act, was signed by Duterte on May 6.

“A foundling found in the Philippines and/or Philippine embassies, consulates and territories abroad is presumed a natural-born Filipino citizen regardless of the status or circumstances of birth,” the law states.

A foundling is entitled to every available government program or service, 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, according to the law.

It also exempts from criminal liability parents who turn over an infant 30 days old and younger to “safe haven” institutions.

Safe haven providers include licensed child-caring or -placing agencies, churches, Department of Health-accredited health facilities, local social welfare and development offices and Department of Social Welfare and Development- or local government unit-managed residential care facilities.
Imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than six years shall be imposed on any person who falsifies or is involved in the falsification of the registration of the supposed foundling, including the documents required.

A public officer found to have been involved in such act of falsification shall be punished by the penalty next higher in degree.

The penalty of imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than five years shall be imposed on the finder, concerned National Authority for Child Care and Regional Alternative Child Care Office employees, staff of child-caring and child-placing facilities, safe haven providers, police officers, city, municipal and barangay officers, health employees, hospital staff and any other concerned person who refuses, delays or obstructs the conduct of search and inquiry into the facts of birth and parentage of the foundling.

A safe haven provider that does not report within 48 hours that an infant was relinquished within its premises may face a fine ranging from P500,000 to P1 million.

A fine ranging from P1 million to P5 million or imprisonment of not less than three months but not more than two years, or both, shall be imposed on any person who falsifies or is involved in the falsification of the registration of the supposed foundling to facilitate kidnapping or trafficking in persons.

A public officer found to have been involved in such act shall be punished by the penalty next higher in degree and perpetually disqualified from office.

LAW

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