Domestic adoption in the Philippines

RULE ON ADOPTION

A. DOMESTIC ADOPTION

Section 1. Applicability of the Rule. – This Rule covers the domestic adoption of Filipino children.

Section 2. Objectives. – (a) The best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration in all matters relating to his care, custody and adoption, in accordance with Philippine laws, the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN Declaration on Social and Legal Principles Relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption, Nationally and Internationally, and the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption.

(b) The State shall provide alternative protection and assistance through foster care or adoption for every child who is a foundling, neglected, orphaned, or abandoned. To this end, the State shall:

(i) ensure that every child remains under the care and custody of his parents and is provided with love, care, understanding and security for the full and harmonious development of his personality. Only when such efforts prove insufficient and no appropriate placement or adoption within the child’s extended family is available shall adoption by an unrelated person be considered.

(ii) safeguard the biological parents from making hasty decisions in relinquishing their parental authority over their child;

(iii) prevent the child from unnecessary separation from his biological parents;

(iv) conduct public information and educational campaigns to promote a positive environment for adoption;

(v) ensure that government and private sector agencies have the capacity to handle adoption inquiries, process domestic adoption applications and offer adoption-related services including, but not limited to, parent preparation and post-adoption education and counseling;

(vi) encourage domestic adoption so as to preserve the child’s identity and culture in his native land, and only when this is not available shall inter-country adoption be considered as a last resort; and

(vii) protect adoptive parents from attempts to disturb their parental authority and custody over their adopted child.

Any voluntary or involuntary termination of parental authority shall be administratively or judicially declared so as to establish the status of the child as “legally available for adoption” and his custody transferred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development or to any duly licensed and accredited child-placing or child-caring agency, which entity shall be authorized to take steps for the permanent placement of the child.

Section 3. Definition of Terms. – For purposes of this Rule:

(a) “Child” is a person below eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the filing of the petition for adoption.

(b) “A child legally available for adoption” refers to a child who has been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to the Department or to a duly licensed and accredited child-placing or child-caring agency, freed of the parental authority of his biological parents, or in case of rescission of adoption, his guardian or adopter(s).

(c) “Voluntarily committed child” is one whose parents knowingly and willingly relinquish parental authority over him in favor of the Department.

(d) “Involuntarily committed child” is one whose parents, known or unknown, have been permanently and judicially deprived of parental authority over him due to abandonment; substantial, continuous or repeated neglect and abuse; or incompetence to discharge parental responsibilities.

(e) “Foundling” refers to a deserted or abandoned infant or child whose parents, guardian or relatives are unknown; or a child committed to an orphanage or charitable or similar institution with unknown facts of birth and parentage and registered in the Civil Register as a “foundling.”

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