The bill was drafted by IDEALS, Inc in partnership and consultation with various stakeholders which includes, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), and UNICEF. After several consultation meetings, the draft bill was submitted to the office of Sen. Poe and was filed as Senate Bill 2892.
The explanatory note of the bill clearly defines the importance of the proposed legislation specifically on protecting the rights of the child and the dire consequences of the absence of such law.
“Timely birth registration is a fundamental right of every child. This is expressly laid down in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights on the right of an individual to his identity and nationality – to which the Philippines adheres to. It is the primary act towards the recognition of an individual by the State; the onset of establishing his legal identity and the entitlement to the benefits and protection afforded by the State to its citizens.
As the documentary proof of birth registration, a Certificate of Live Birth or Birth Certificate is the primary document, which ensures access to basic services such as health and medical assistance, financial grants and education. The Birth Certificate also facilitates the exercise of fundamental freedom rights such as the right to vote and be voted for; right to inherit; seek employment; access social security benefits; buy and own properties and to further secure other documentary identification. It is likewise a necessary document to establish family ties and better opportunities for the child thru the process of adoption. As a component of the civil registration system of a country, it contributes to the effective governance by providing data that will feed into provision of services and efficient response to the needs and requirements of the populace.
Consequently, an unregistered individual may have limited or no access to the abovementioned entitlements and opportunities. An unregistered child not only will have diminished access to medical, educational and social benefits provided by the State, s/he is likewise susceptible to the abuses on account of minority, such as commercial and sexual exploitation, abuse and human trafficking. Verily, the brunt of non-registration is exponentially greater for the Children in Need of Special Protection (CNSP). To this category belongs children who are vulnerable to or are victims of abuse, neglect, exploitation, cruelty, discrimination and violence and other conditions prejudicial to their development.
While Memorandum Circular 2004-01 includes abandoned children under this term, existing issuances (Administrative Order No. 01 Series of 1993 and Memorandum Circular 2011-5) provide for a separate registration structure for foundlings. This has often resulted to both confusion and discrimination of the child. It is in this wise that foundlings, as defined under AO No. 01, is sought to be embraced in the term CNSP and thusly be accorded the same registration process under this Act.
As a vulnerable and disadvantaged group, CNSPs 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 protection.
As a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and beholden to its inherent duty as parens patriae, it is incumbent upon the State to abide by the UN CRC’s primary tenets of advancing and protecting the rights of its children, in consonance with both the domestic and global context. By providing an enhanced framework on birth registration of CNSPs, there is an assurance of wider statistical coverage and improvement in the compliance by all the stakeholders.”
IDEALS and its partner organizations will continue to work and advocate for the immediate passage of the law.
Click here to download copy of the proposed bill.
The Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, Inc. (IDEALS, Inc.) is a legal-focused advocacy and service institution organized to address the legal and technical needs of the marginalized, disempowered and vulnerable groups, particularly the agrarian reform beneficiaries, farmer-traders, migrants sector of society and recently the persons & communities affected by disasters.