Immediate approval of foundling bill vowed

A House leader assured the immediate passage  of the Foundling Welfare Act.

House Committee on the Welfare of Children and Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez stressed the importance of the measure especially the rights of abandoned children with unknown parents and declaring them as natural-born Filipino citizens.

The committee has started its deliberation on House Bill 3472 or the proposed Foundling Welfare Act that is principally authored by Ang Probinsyano party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong.

“We will do our best to approve this bill immediately in the House of Representatives. We are committed to promote and protect the rights of the abandoned children,” Romualdez said on the measure that was approved upon the motion of Gabriela Women’s party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas.

Romualdez said the filing of the bill was an offshoot of the absence of a legal framework that fully recognizes  foundlings as bonafide Filipino citizens.

She stressed that an abandoned child has to cope with the harsh reality of being neglected by its own family.

For this matter, the committee has formed a technical working group (TWG) that would consolidate and harmonize the more than a dozen bills to establish an “Alternative Child Care Code” and simplify the process of adopting abandoned and neglected children in the country.

In defending his measure, Ong underscored the importance of passing HB 3472 or the proposed Foundling Welfare Act, which primarily aims to promote the rights of foundlings and to be recognized as natural born citizens.

He lamented that the present laws require children whose parentage are unknown to present physical proof of blood relation to a Filipino parent before he or she is considered a natural-born citizen.

These legal barriers, Ong said placed foundlings at a disadvantage and tremendously disenfranchises them as the failure of the child to fulfill the legal requirements obliged by the law is tantamount to the denial of the full rights bestowed upon all Filipino children.

Under the proposed law, foundlings shall be recognized as natural-born citizens of the Philippines, without need of perfection or any further act, and shall automatically be accorded such rights and protection as those belonging to such class of citizens. These include foundlings who are committed to orphanage, and charitable or government institutions or those who have undergone or are undergoing adoption proceedings.

The measure provides that such natural-born status of the child or infant shall not be impugned in any proceeding all the days of his or her life unless substantial proof of foreign parentage is shown. Such status shall not also be affected by the fact that the birth certificate of the child is simulated or that there was an absence of a legal adoption process, it said.