Aspiring parents urged to avoid illegal adoption

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SunStar Local News

AUTHORITIES are urging aspiring parents to avoid illegal forms of adoption, particularly the emerging incidences of online “babies for sale.”

This, as the National Authority for Child Care (NACC) regional office in Central Visayas noted a “very alarming” surge of recent incidents of “babies for sale” via online platforms.

In an interview last Wednesday, June 12, 2024, during the celebration of Adoption and Alternative Child Care Week 2024, NACC officer-in-charge Concepcion Solera said the trend deprives unfortunate infants and children of the opportunity to be adopted by couples or individuals who have been thoroughly screened by the agency.

It also violates the country’s adoption process under Republic Act (RA) 11642 and potentially violates the Anti-Human Trafficking Law in the country, Solera added.

She said adoption in the country has been streamlined to hasten the legal process of adopting less fortunate children.

Price range

“That’s why NACC is really monitoring baby selling on Facebook,” Solera said in Tagalog. Babies were mostly sold at a range of P3,000 to P20,000.

In Central Visayas, the NACC identified five Facebook pages that were involved in the illegal operation of “babies for sale.”

The agency has coordinated with the National Bureau of Investigation to intensify the monitoring of these activities.

“So far, we have not apprehended or imprisoned anyone because investigation and monitoring are still undergoing,” Solera said.

As an attached agency to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Solera said the NACC is the only government authority that handles and grants domestic administrative adoption, intercountry adoption and alternative child care.

The agency was recently created in 2022 by RA 11642.

Mhike Palanca, a social welfare officer of the NACC, said the agency has already coordinated with the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center and the Philippine National Police through the Women and Children Protection Center to foil these Facebook pages, groups and any online platform that engages in illegal adoption.

“Illegal adoption is not an option because this tantamounts to human trafficking. We do not know the kind of families the children end up with,” Palanca said.

Options

He said most of these babies and children were already victims of the parents’ abandonment and neglect due to poverty.

“There is an option for biological parents if they no longer have the means to care for their children. Legal adoption and foster care can assume the responsibility so that their children’s future will not be compromised,” Palanca said.

Under RA 11642, Solera said, seeking the court’s approval has been removed, which makes the process less expensive for prospective adoptive parents since they no longer have to shoulder legal fees.

She added that the process has also been shortened to just six to nine months, instead of several years, as the new adoption procedure only requires the approval of the NACC executive director.

In 2023, Palanca said 634 children were issued certifications declaring them “legally available for adoption.” Of the number, 68 were from

Central Visayas.

More than 300 children were also issued orders of adoption since 2023.

“The children were matched with an adoptive parent. We also have other kinds of adoption like step-parent adoption, relative adoption, adult adoption and foster adoption,” Palanca said.

In Central Visayas, Solera said prospective parents who want to adopt can visit NACC’s office in Mandaue City or reach out to the social welfare agency of their nearest towns and cities.

“All of our LGUs (local government units) have been oriented with RA 11642 and they can join the adoption forum online,” she said.

She said adopting through legal means has no fee, as potential parents and even single parents have to undergo extensive screening and evaluation by their social worker. / EHP

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