MANILA A bill promoting the rights of deserted children with unknown parents or foundlings and declaring their status as natural-born Filipino citizens has been filed at the House of Representatives.
According to a statement on Wednesday, Ang Probinsyano party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong filed House Bill 3472 to address the issue surrounding the citizenship status of foundlings, who remain vulnerable and are in danger of being deprived of countless rights and opportunities.
Ong cited the case of Senator Grace Poe--a foundling--whose citizenship was questioned when she ran for president in 2016.
"While the Supreme Court ruled in her (Poe) favor, the overall legal backdrop was not encouraging--our present and past Constitutions are textually silent on the citizenship status of foundlings (hence, legal interpretations differ), Congress has not enacted a law specifically to address this gap and, worse, the SC (Supreme Court) decision can be reversed anytime," Ong said.
The lawmaker noted that the present system requires foundlings to present physical proof of blood relation to a Filipino parent before they are considered natural-born citizen.
"This requirement is impossible, oppressive and discriminatory. It is as if foundlings are second-class citizens only because of the inability to identify their biological parents which they should never be blamed for, Ong said.
"How can they identify their biological parents who abandoned them in the first place? That requirement is absolutely absurd," he added.
The bill proposes that all foundlings shall be recognized as natural-born citizens of the Philippines, without need of perfection or any further act, and shall automatically be accorded such rights and protection as those belonging to such class of citizens."
The bill further states that such natural-born status of the child or infant shall not be impugned in any proceeding all the days of his or her life unless substantial proof of foreign parentage is shown.
The said status shall not also be affected by the fact that the birth certificate of the child is simulated or that there was an absence of a legal adoption process.
The bill also provides hefty fines and jail term for various acts that are deemed to violate the basic rights of foundlings. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency