/ 1 September 2021

THE SENATE has approved a bill that seeks to simplify the process of adoption in the country.

Senators were unanimous in passing on third and final reading Senate Bill 1933 or the Domestic Administration Adoption Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill Nos. 1070 and 1337, originally authored by Senators Grace Poe and Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla, Jr.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, head of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality and author and sponsor of SBN 1933, said the measure seeks to dispense with the lengthy process associated with judicial adoption by allowing domestic adoptions via an administrative process.

“This bill will abbreviate the waiting time of adoptive parents to six to nine months. Instead of years, the waiting time will now only be as long as a pregnancy of a mother. This way, we will encourage more parents to adopt children who need loving homes and caring families,” Hontiveros said.

The bill mandates the institution of a simpler and less-costly administrative process of adoption, to be managed by a new government body, the National Authority for Child Care, as per an amendment introduced by Senator Pia Cayetano.

The NACC will handle all applications, petitions and all other matters involving alternative child care, in a manner that is simple, expeditious, inexpensive, and will redound to the best interest of the child.

To ensure a speedy process of administrative domestic adoption, the bill sets specific periods of time on which the NACC, the Regional Alternative Child Care Offices and other government offices should decide on petitions for adoption and facilitate documents.

Procedural safeguards are included in the bill to protect the child’s welfare, such as the requirement of  a home study and case study by a social worker for each application for adoption.

The measure penalizes abuse and exploitation of children as well as simulation of birth —  the fictitious registration of the birth of a child under a person not their biological parent.

Through these reforms, Hontiveros said that the average adoption process will take only 6-9 months, instead of two to three years.

Since the adoption process under the bill will no longer be tedious and expensive, the senator said she hopes that parents will no longer be discouraged from undergoing the legal process of adopting a child.