Child-adoption reforms deserve support

Monday February 8, 2010/

THIS week starts the observance of National Adoption Consciousness Week, with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) taking the lead, as it advocates a better appreciation of the law—enacted last year—that laid down firmer safeguards to prevent abuse and illegal trafficking in children, while at the same time ensuring that children who need adoption most will, indeed, end up with families who deserve them and can raise them as good persons. 

The DSWD has put special focus, in this year’s observance, on the perils of simulated births where, instead of a legally documented adoption, a child is made to appear as the biological offspring of another person not his/her parents. But beyond the perils of simulation, legal adoption should really be supported, both for the sake of the children and the parents, adoptive or biological.
The adoption law and guidelines laid down last year have more far-reaching implications than most people may care to understand. For so many decades, child-trafficking syndicates have exploited children, including orphans and those who were simply kidnapped. Many children have simply been sold outright to desperate, childless people, and often the transaction has been beyond the oversight of state agencies. It’s one of the most heinous crimes one can possibly commit, and the comprehensive adoption law was passed mainly to close all the gaps in the placement of children for adoption, without unduly restricting the rights of would-be parents and their families. It is hoped that all that can be changed, though one must concede reforms can’t all happen overnight.
As a nation that professes to be Christian, and as a country whose economy has survived for four decades on the talent and industry of its people, certainly the Philippines has no business trumpeting its advocacies for human development if it cannot plug this one glaring gap in the system. That Congress and the Executive finally got around to having the law in place last year is a tribute to the determination of those who lobbied for it for decades, notably the DSWD.
Now, the challenge is to make that law work, to see to it that implementation doesn’t make a mockery of its true intent and vision, and to prove that the Philippines is determined to fight any and all forms of human trafficking, including the illegal placement of children. Citizens who wish to benefit from the joys of having children would do well to heed the new law and cooperate with the DSWD and other relevant agencies in following the letter and spirit of the law. Surely, the Philippines is worlds apart from the problems of Haiti, where child trafficking for every intent—for adoption, forced labor or even sexual exploitation—has been a plague for ages. The evil has recently been highlighted with reports filtering out of Port-au-Prince about criminal syndicates simply plucking children from the streets. Still, in some parts of the Philippines, the presence and operations of child traffickers is also an open secret, and the DSWD deserves the support of vigilant citizens to put an end to this evil once and for all.
BusinessMirror Editorial

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