Default Thumbnail

Poe: No child’s birth should remain ‘unregistered’

October 6, 2022 Camille P. Balagtas 228 views

SENATOR Grace Poe asked concerned government agencies and stakeholders to work together to ensure that the births of all Filipino children, especially the vulnerable, are promptly registered to protect their rights and accord them due benefits.

“No child should remain unregistered or deprived of the opportunity to be the best person they can be,” Poe said at the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) second national convention on civil registration and vital statistics held in Pasay City.

Poe pressed for the effective implementation of the Republic Act (RA) 11767 or the Foundling Recognition and Protection Act, with its implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) already in place.

The senator cited Section 5 of the law, which states, “A foundling found in the Philippines and/or in Philippine embassies, consulates, and territories abroad is presumed a natural-born Filipino citizen regardless of the status or circumstances of birth.”

“As a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a foundling is accorded with rights and protection at the moment of birth equivalent to those belonging to such class of citizens whose citizenship does not need perfection or any further act,” the law provides.

“The natural-born status of a foundling shall not also be affected by the fact that the birth certificate was simulated or that there was an absence of a legal adoption process or that there was inaction or delay in reporting, documenting or registering a foundling,” the law further states.

“Our concerned agencies and stakeholders must work together effectively in implementing the law and in looking after the best interest of our vulnerable children,” Poe said.

The senator, who was a foundling adopted by the late National Artist Fernando Poe Jr. and movie icon Susan Roces, stressed that while the national ID system is yet to be fully implemented, the need for a birth certificate is crucial in accessing government benefits.

“In order to be eligible for certain public services and social protection, we need to establish our legal identity, civil status, and family relations. While the country is still in the process of fully implementing a national identity card scheme, civil registry documents are our primary means to prove who we are,” Poe said.

“Children without a birth certificate are one of the most vulnerable classes of people as they are bereft of the document that is necessary for accessing health, nutrition, education, and social protection. For infants, access to these essential services is a matter of life and death,” Poe stressed.

The law mandates the National Authority for Child Care to take charge of applying for registration of the foundling to the Local Civil Registrar, which in turn shall issue the child’s certificate of live birth.

The convention keynoted by Poe was attended by city and municipal registrars, solemnizing officers, academicians, statisticians, and stakeholders from across the country.

Poe also prodded the PSA and the Office of the Civil Registrar to continue improving civil registration among groups with a low level of registration, such as indigenous peoples and poor communities.

She likewise expressed hope that the eventual full digitalization of civil registration will ensure timely and reliable access to needed documents by all Filipinos.