Lapid refiles bill for foundlings
MANILA, Philippines — “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Citing this oft-quoted adage, Senator Lito Lapid has revived his bill, seeking to provide a legitimate status to a foundling or an abandoned child with unknown parents.
Lapid filed Senate Bill No. 56 known as the “Foundling Recognition Act” on his first day as a senator on Monday. He also filed the bill in 2015.
“For all legal intents and purposes, a foundling shall be recognized as the legitimate child of the founder from the time of his birth, provided that the foundling has lived and depended with the founder until the foundling reaches the age of majority; and provided further that the founder and the foundling have conducted as and made known themselves to be parent and child in their community,” the bill reads.
If the founder is married at the time the foundling was discovered, the foundling should be considered the legitimate child of the founder and his spouse, the proposed measure further said.
Lapid noted that a child’s legitimacy, citizenship and the manner which he may conduct in society are “dictated” based on the status of the child’s parents.
“A child of married parents is legitimate while those born out of wedlock are illegitimate. Children of Filipino parents are natural citizens of the Philippines,” he pointed out in his explanatory note in the bill.
“These matters may readily be discerned not only because there are laws governing the same, but also most importantly, the identities of the parents are established.”
“But how about infants left to be found in the doors of churches and trash cans, which have been common nowadays? It has been unfair for them to be left to fend for themselves at a very young age, and worse, much of the opportunities related with status may not be available to them,” he pointed out.
Lapid lamented that the legitimacy illegitimacy of foundlings remains “in limbo” unless they adopted in accordance with the law.
“The net effect of this is that a whole array of rights and entitlements under our Civil Code, Family Code and other relevant laws is unavailable to foundlings just because their nationality and legitimacy remain undetermined,” he said.
The senator then asked for the immediate passage of the bill, which he said would correct the “inequities that beset foundlings in the aspect of status, condition, and legal capacity.”
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