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Poe files bill for foundlings

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Sen. Grace Poe. JOAN BONDOC/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Sen. Grace Poe has filed a bill to strengthen the system for registering the birth of children in need of special protection, including foundlings like herself.

“I am doing this no longer for myself but for the thousands of children who were abandoned, who might grow up never knowing their biological parents, and whose dreams and aspirations may be limited because of their status,” Poe said in a statement Sunday.

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Abandoned children should not be considered “second-class citizens” just because their parents left them, Poe said.

As a baby, Poe was left in a church in Iloilo City. She was adopted by a famous show business couple—the late Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.

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The senator’s citizenship is being questioned because of the unknown circumstances of her birth. A case filed in the Senate Electoral Tribunal seeks to unseat her, arguing that she may not be a natural-born Filipino.

Poe believes the petition against her could have something to do with her possible run for the presidency next year.

Earlier, she said she had documents to prove she was a natural-born Filipino and met residency requirements to qualify her to run for higher office.

In her bill, foundlings would be included in the list of children in need of special protection and would require that they be registered within 60 days of being taken into custody.

She said abandoned children were not on the current list of protected children, which includes sexually and physically abused children; victims of commercial sexual exploitation; those in conflict with the law; those involved in armed conflict; street children; and displaced or refugee children.

Foundlings have a separate registration structure that “has often resulted in confusion and discrimination of the child,” said Poe.

Her proposed measure would accord foundlings the same registration process as other children in need of special protection.

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Under Senate Bill No. 2892, persons who have custody of a foundling will be required to bring the child within 48 hours to either barangay (village) or police officers, a child-care foundation or the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The DSWD will determine if the child has no caregiver or guardian and, if so, register the child within 60 days to obtain a birth certificate.

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TAGS: abandoned children, Children, Foundlings, Grace Poe, Philippines, Senate bill
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