THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has welcomed the newly signed law that guarantees the citizenship rights of foundlings and abandoned children.

On May 6, 2022, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11767, or the Foundling Recognition and Protection Act.

The new law states that a foundling found in the country or in Philippine embassies, consulates and territories abroad is presumed a natural-born Filipino citizen regardless of the status or circumstances of the child’s birth.

CHR previously explained that, as enshrined in Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a foundling’s right to nationality at birth is self-executing.

"The State has the obligation to grant them citizenship even without an enabling local law since it is “an obligation erga omnes (toward all) to prevent statelessness”, the commission said.

CHR also stressed the vulnerability of deserted children in our society.

"We duly welcome this development as it provides abandoned children relief from unprepared parents. Infants 30 days old or younger can be turned over to safe haven institutions such as licensed child-caring agencies, Department of Health-accredited health facilities, local social welfare and development offices and Department of Social Welfare and Development- or local government unit-managed residential care facilities so they can receive the nurture they rightfully deserve," CHR executive director Jacqueline de Guia said.

The commission said it feels more assured by the existence of a national law that will ensure their access to government programs and services such as healthcare, education, facilitation of documents for adoption, and security, among others.

CHR vowed to continue its advocate for more institutionalized provisions to safeguard children’s access to a good and healthy life.