DSWD: More foreigners adopt abandoned children
By Mar S. Arguelles LEGAZPI CITY --- Hundreds of children in Bicol who were either abandoned or neglected by their parents and were placed under the government’s legal adoption program are now in the care of their foreign adoptive parents, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Bicol. DSWD records indicate that at least 178 children were declared legally available for adoption in Bicol,117 of which children were cleared for inter-country adoption while only 42 are placed for domestic adoption, said Marion Sarena Taduran, DSWD Adoption Resource and Referral Section social welfare officer. Taduran in a phone interview said 107 children have been turned over to their foreign adoptive parents while 10 are still undergoing adoption matching clearance. Forty-two children placed for domestic adoption are likewise now in the care of their Filipino adoptive parents. When asked what country the adoptive foreign parents came from, Taduran said the foreign parents came from Spain, Italy, United States of America, and Canada. CDLAA records indicate that for the past ten years (2009-2018), there were 178 children with ages ranging from 9 months to 14 years old who were subject for legal adoption. Taduran, citing a case category, showed that 88 children or 50 percent were surrendered by their biological parents, or guardian to the centers, 49 of them , or 27 percent, were abandoned. Thirty-one, or 17 percent, were categorized as founding children (no information about the parents), seven were neglected and four cases were either declared abandoned or neglected by local courts. Jesseshan Marbella Aycocho, DSWD spokesperson, said that Social Welfare Secretary Virginia Orogo has authorized various DSWD regional directors to issue Pre-Adoption Placement Authority, Affidavit of Consent to Adoption, and Inter-Country Matching Clearance. Orogo reiterated that the importance of legal adoption is to prevent birth simulation that deprives adopted children to know their identity and to break the stigma that legal adoption is only for people who can afford. The adoption process was in line with the agency’s alternative parental care program of the DSWD for abandoned and neglected children as guided by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8552, or the Domestic Adoption Act; and R.A. No. 8043, or An Act Authorizing the Secretary of DSWD to issue a Certification Declaring a Child Legally Available for Adoption (CDCLAA). Aycocho said interested individuals may seek DSWD’s free services. She, however, said applicants are advised that they need to spend considerable amount on legal services and documentary requirements in line with the adoption process. DSWD Social workers attend to local adoption cases either through walk-in applicants or courts order received from the Regional Trial Courts and referrals from local social welfare and development offices (LSWDOs) for technical assistance.