Register every child, says Poe

Every Filipino child must be promptly registered to protect their rights and accord them due benefits, Senator Grace Poe said Thursday during her speech at the Philippine Statistics Authority’s second national convention on civil registration and vital statistics held in Pasay City.

“No child should remain unregistered or deprived of the opportunity to be the best person they can be,” Poe said.

Citing the Republic Act 11767 or the Foundling Recognition and Protection Act, she urged concerned agencies for the effective implementation of the law, with its implementing rules and regulations already in place.

“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 lady lawmaker said Section 5 of the law states that 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 absence of a legal adoption process or that there was inaction or delay in reporting, documenting or registering a foundling,” it added.

Poe, 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.

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

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