Press Release
January 31, 2022


The Senate on Monday afternoon approved a proposed measure that will protect the rights and welfare of deserted and abandoned children. Authored and sponsored by Senator Risa Hontiveros, Senate Bill No. 2233 presumes a foundling a natural-born Filipino citizen granting him or her rights and protection under Philippine laws at the moment of birth.

"Masaya ako na sa nalalabing session days ay nabigyang-pansin na i-angat ang karapatan at kapakanan ng mga batang inabandona. They were once lost. Now, they are found. I laud the Senate's commitment to ensure that these children are rescued from the risk of statelessness and to finally establish their identity," Hontiveros said.

Under the Foundling Recognition and Protection Act, a foundling who is found in the Philippines or the country's embassies, consulates, and territories, shall be presumed a natural-born Filipino citizen.

The bill also seeks to establish the right of a foundling to government programs and services, such as registration, facilitation of documents for adoption, education, protection, nourishment, care, among others.

"The utmost motivation of this bill is the best interest of the child. Hindi lang pagkakaroon ng pamilya ang ipinagkakait sa mga batang ito, kundi ang karapatan na magkaroon ng pangalan, nasyonalidad at maka-access sa programa at serbisyo ng gobyerno. This is the gap that we are trying to fill in," Hontiveros added.

As of December 2021, the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded at least 6,580 certificates of Foundling. On the other hand, there are 1,473 foundlings who are legally available for adoption from 2009 to October 2021 based on the data of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Hontiveros also emphasized the concept of a "Safe Haven" included in one of the provisions of the bill which will protect infants from further harm when their biological parents leave them in unsafe places.

"Maraming mga sanggol ang mas mapapahamak pa dahil iniwan lang sa basurahan o sa public comfort room. The act of parents should not be prejudicial to the welfare of the child. The parents will be given immunity from lawsuit when he or she hands over an infant thirty days old and younger to 'safe haven' institutions such as licensed child care or placing agency, health care facilities or DSWD residential care centers," she said.

Hontiveros then urged the immediate passage of the bill into law, recognizing the government's duty to provide protection to every child, regardless of his or her status or circumstances of birth.

"Tapusin na natin ang paghihirap ng mga batang ito. Paghihirap na hindi naman nila ginusto o pinili. Bawat bata ay may karapatang magkaroon ng nationality na magiging daan para mabigyan siya ng programa at serbisyo para sa kanyang magandang kinabukasan." she concluded.

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