Senator Grace Poe said the Filipinos’ quest for a law that will accord foundlings with rights and protection has reached a milestone with the signing of its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

“I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to be part of this landmark legislation. No sweeter words could ever be written. Today, we, foundlings, are no longer invisible,” Poe said during the ceremonial signing of the IRR of Republic Act (RA) 11767 or the Foundling Recognition and Protection Act in San Juan City.

“With the IRR, we hope to see all abandoned children enjoying equal treatment and every available service due them.”

“We achieved victory with the enactment of the law. With the IRR, we hope to see all abandoned children enjoying equal treatment and every available service due them,” the veteran legislator added.

A foundling herself who was found in an Iloilo church and adopted by movie icons Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, the seasoned lawmaker first filed the bill in 2015 to strengthen the system for registering the birth of children in need of special protection, including foundlings like her.

In the same year, the lady senator battled questions about her citizenship as she faced a disqualification case on her presidential run. She elevated the case to the Supreme Court (SC), which ruled in her favor.

The SC said that the 1987 Constitution guarantees the basic right to equal protection of the laws.

It also pointed out that the Philippines is a signatory to several treaties that generally accepted principles of international law and presume foundlings as having been born of nationals of the country in which the foundling is found.

“For decades, just as I had been left alone and defenseless in that church, no laws took the cudgels on our behalf. Our legislations were silent on foundlings and they were not specifically mentioned as being natural-born Filipino citizens,” she said.

“The implications of this was that foundlings were stateless and could be technically deprived of protection from the State,” Poe added.

She said the momentous court decision on her disqualification case was a victory for all foundlings in this country.

“With the passage of RA 11767 and its IRR, my heart is full.”

“With the passage of RA 11767 and its IRR, my heart is full,” Poe stressed.

She highlighted Section 5 of the law, which states, “A foundling found in the Philippines and/or in Philippine embassies, consulates and territories abroad is presumed a natural-born Filipino citizen regardless of the status or circumstances of birth.

“As a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a foundling is accorded with rights and protection at the moment of birth equivalent to those belonging to such class of citizens whose citizenship does not need perfection or any further act,” the law added.

“The natural-born status of a foundling shall not also be affected by the fact that the birth certificate was simulated or that there was absence of a legal adoption process or that there was inaction or delay in reporting, documenting or registering a foundling,” the law further said.

Poe called on concerned agencies to implement the law fully and effectively.

“We must work together to make the country a shining example of humanitarianism by being a safe haven for foundlings,” she concluded.



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