Press Release
August 9, 2015


After being the subject of a quo warranto case seeking to unseat her from the Senate because she is a "foundling" and allegedly not a natural-born Filipino, Senator Grace Poe wants legislation providing greater protection for abandoned children like her.

Poe filed Senate Bill 2892, an Act Strengthening the System of Birth Registration of Children in Need of Special Protection (CNSP) in the Philippines.

"I am doing this no longer for myself but for the thousands of children who were abandoned, who might grow up never knowing their biological parents and whose dreams and aspirations may be limited because of their status," she said.

SB 2892 moves to include foundlings in the list of CNSP and mandates their registration within 60 days of being in custody.

While abandoned children are included in the list of CNSP, existing issuances provide a separate registration structure for foundlings.

"This has often resulted in confusion and discrimination of the child," Poe said.

"It is in this wise that foundlings, as defined under Administrative Order No. 01, is sought to be embraced in the term CNSP and thus accorded the same registration process under this Act," she said.

CNSPs currently include:

  • sexually/physically abused children

  • children in commercial sexual exploitation

  • children in conflict with the law

  • children involved in armed conflict

  • working children or victims of child labor

  • children in various circumstances of disability

  • children directly affected by HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases

  • street children

  • children in substance abuse

  • mentally challenged children

  • abandoned children or those without primary caregivers

  • displaced/refugee children

"As a vulnerable and disadvantaged group, CNSP are in greater need of the State's protective arm. The non-registration of their births makes them more invisible to the State's developmental radar that could otherwise include them in priority programs on health, nutrition, education and protections," Poe said.

SB 2892 mandates persons in custody of a foundling to bring the foundling, within 48 hours, to either barangay or police officials, a child-care foundation, or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The receiving agency will then determine if the child has, indeed, no caregiver or guardian; if no guardian is found, the DSWD or custodian should register the child within 60 days and obtain a Certificate of Live Birth for the foundling.

The DSWD will submit every month a list of registered foundlings and other CNSP.

According to UNICEF, 1.7 million children in the Philippines do not have birth documents, and are deprived of access to basic health, educational and protection services.

"An unregistered child not only will have diminished access to medical, educational and social benefits provided by the State; he/she is likewise susceptible to the abuses on account of minority such as commercial and sexual exploitation, abuse and human trafficking," Poe said.

In 2010, the DSWD served 4,749 children who were victims of abuse and exploitation. Of this, 1,433 were abandoned.

Poe said she does not want abandoned children to be considered as second-class citizens just because they were left by their parents.

She cited her own story, a foundling adopted by movie superstars Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, who is now on her third year as a senator.

"Maraming ganyan ang nag-umpisa sa wala, pero nagtrabaho o pinagpalang mayroong nagpalaki katulad ng mga magulang ko. Babalewalain ko na lang ba iyon?" she said.

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