Adoption experts sign pact vs child trafficking

Date: 2009-08-20
Source: mb.com.ph

By ROBERT R. REQUINTINA

The Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) has signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation with seven government agencies to stop child trafficking.

The memorandum likewise enables the adoption board to investigate and file cases against “child trafficking syndicates and perpetrators of child abuse.”

Rafael Tinio, board member of ICAB, said the signatories -- Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Justice, Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, National Statistics Office, National Bureau of Investigation and the Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines – have agreed to “ensure the institutionalization of working relationships between and among government agencies.”

The signatories shall also be responsible for the “establishment of an efficient system of verification and delivery of documents and other requirements for the placement of abandoned and neglected children with permanent families, continuous communication and exchange of information regarding the trafficking of children and the identification of problem areas with a view to close gaps which allow the trafficking of children.”

Tinio acknowledged that some “adoptive parents” conspire with unscrupulous social workers” to speed up the process of adoption.

These social workers, he said, resort to producing fake documents. “That’s why there’s an increasing number of child trafficking because of these people.”

The Philippines is hosting the 10th Global Consultation on Child Welfare Services at Dusit Hotel in Makati City. The four-day summit, which started last August 18, ends tomorrow, August 21.

Lawyer Bernadette Abejo, executive director of ICAB, said children who are “victims” of international traffickers end up as prostitutes or domestic workers.

Abejo stressed that in the Philippines, only ICAB is allowed to process international adoptions.

Tinio added: “Worst case scenario is that they are subjected to organ extraction.”

Meantime, Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. who was keynote speaker in the global adoption summit, said the signing of Republic Act No. 9523 has shortened the adoption process by about three weeks.

President Arroyo signed this piece of legislation last March 12, 2009.

“The new law does complete our desire to facilitate the adoption process,” he said.

“The route towards declaring an abandoned child legally available for adoption is no longer a court function. It is now delegated by this law to the Secretary of DSWD.

According to Pimentel, within seven days from the date of the recommendation of the DSWD Regional Director, the necessary certification may now be issued by the secretary that a child is legally available for adoption.

“The new law is, therefore, a step towards our goal to fully simplify the adoption system,” he said

This year’s theme of the Global Consultation is “Adoption Practices: Advancing Children’s Rights and Welfare”.

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