Press Release
August 31, 2021

Third reading vote on SBN 1933 (Domestic Administrative Adoption Bill)
By Senator Pia S. Cayetano

I join the two sponsors before me, Sen. Hontiveros and Sen. Poe in thanking our colleagues, especially the Senate President, for helping us see this measure through.

As we know, the history of this bill is that it started as a simple domestic administrative adoption bill. But through the joint efforts of our colleagues, including the Senate President, we were able to take, quite honestly, the longer, the more difficult, and the arduous task of including other provisions that make it now a comprehensive adoption bill.

We covered the gaps and the flaws that are currently in the system in DSWD, including the simple fact that they are undermanned and overworked. We acknowledge their hard work here; we have always seen that they have the true intent of helping these children and their families. But again, as I repeat, the DSWD personnel who have been handling adoption cases are also pulled out time and again for all the other functions in DSWD.

And that's why, if you look at the record, they barely are able to process 200 children for adoption each year. So we will never be able to help out the children, the estimate is close to a million children, who need homes, whether temporarily in foster care, or adoption. And this is really sad, because all of us who have been parents or who are now grandparents, know how crucial those formative years are, from birth, to when they start walking, talking, recognizing you. Imagine those growing up years spent in children's homes, not with families, simply because we have not been efficient in handling the paperwork to get them adopted, to get them into the loving homes that are there waiting for them.

Because of this bill, there is a big chance that hindi mag-18 years old ang bata na yan sa isang [children's] home. Hindi siya aabutin ng debut niya dun, hindi siya mags-sweet 16, hindi siya aabutin ng teen years, 11, 12, 13, if the DSWD and that will now be the new agency that we established under the law can fulfill its mandate as we have written it out in the bill. These children will be adopted as soon as possible, maybe within a few months, a year, huwag na sana yung taon-taon na lumaki na sila and they never knew what it was like to be in the home with a mother and a father and maybe with siblings. That's my dream. Wala naman ho tayong issue na ginagawa ng DSWD ang best na kaya nilang gawin. But the best is not good enough sometimes if the process or structure is not in place to allow them to do a better job.

On that note, I thank again our sponsor, Sen. Hontiveros, of course, Sen. Grace, and all our colleagues for helping us see this measure through. Maraming salamat and for those of you who want more children, consider yourselves to be adoptive parents in the future. It's never too late, uulitin ko ang kwinento ni Sen. Hontiveros, the same thing has been said to me time and again by friends who saw me with my son when he was a toddler, "Ang swerte naman ng batang yan." And I would always correct them, "Hindi, kami ang swerte sa kanya. Our life is complete with him in our lives." So that's really how adoptive parents feel. If you have any space, panawagan ko na ito sa buong Pilipinas, if you have any space left in your heart and in your homes, become an adoptive parent. Thank you and God Bless.

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