Imagine how difficult it is to be born only to be abandoned. Left alone, defenseless, and not knowing who your parents are is a tragedy that no one deserves. Add to it being deprived of the rights and citizenship that you deserve.
These are just a few of the challenges many abandoned Filipino babies face. Instead of being cared for and loved, these babies are deprived of their rights and many other opportunities the moment they come into the world just because they were abandoned.
Realizing the need to address these issues, Congressman Ronnie Ong authored House Bill 7679 or the proposed “Foundling Welfare Act.” A neglected or abandoned kid of undetermined parentage whose period or circumstances of birth on Philippine territory are unknown and unreported is referred to as a foundling in the bill.
Congressman Ronnie Ong, first nominee of AP Partylist, explained that the bill intends to address the issue of foundlings’ citizenship status, which he described are still fragile and in danger of being denied a slew of rights and privileges.
Thankfully, the said bill was approved on its third and final reading at The House of Representatives. The proposed Foundling Welfare Act was approved by the chamber with 220 votes in favor of its passing. The bill aims to recognize foundlings as natural-born Filipino citizens automatically.
Cong. Ronnie explained that the inspiration for the said bill is a good friend and colleague, Senator Grace Poe. He described the bill’s passing as destiny as it happened on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Candelaria Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo.
This is the same place where Senator Poe was found as a baby. She was named “Grace” since she is considered a “grace from God.” Coincidentally, the same can be said with the passing of the Foundling Welfare Act.
Instead of a Foundling Certificate, HB 7679 grants all foundlings a Certificate of Live Birth. The process for the issuing of a birth certificate to foundlings by the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Office of the Civil Registrar is therefore outlined.
HB 7679 is also retroactive, which means that people who have received a Foundling Certificate will also be entitled to receive a Birth Certificate, even if they have not yet been adopted. As a result, the measure would grant foundlings the same rights that a Filipino citizen is entitled to.
Equal access to government programs and services, such as facilitating adoption documents, education, and legal and police protection, as well as fundamental social services including education, healthcare, and nutrition, are among these rights.