Poe: Proof of identity crucial to recognition of rights
Senator Grace Poe is urging the new administration to intervene and put forward a plan that would legally acknowledge a person’s existence through 100 percent birth profiling.
Poe, champion of children’s rights and welfare, said about 7.5 million Filipinos have no basic proof of identity and 10 percent of them were not registered at birth, a situation which she added was crucial to the recognition of their rights, such as the right to seek employment and to access social security benefits.
“The poor are the most vulnerable when it comes to birth registration. Many of our countrymen in far-flung areas are uninformed and do not have the means to register their children at birth,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.
The senator pressed for the passage of her Senate Bill No. 338 called Children in Need of Special Protection (CNSP) Birth Registration Act of 2016 to advance and protect the rights of children by providing a framework for birth registration.
“Timely birth registration is a fundamental right of every child. This is expressly mandated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights on the right of an individual to his identity and nationality—treaties to which the Philippines is a signatory,” said Poe, who filed a similar measure last year.
“It is the primary act towards the recognition of an individual by the State, the onset of establishing his legal identity and the entitlement to the benefits and protection afforded by the State to its citizens,” she added.
Poe, citing a statement from the United Nations, said birth registration should be “universal” and provided for free by the government.
“Birth registration is deemed a basic human right. The child has the right to have a name that is recognized legally aside from having a nationality,” she stressed.
The senator explained that, as the documentary proof of birth registration, a certificate of live birth or birth certificate is the primary document which ensures access to basic services, such as health and medical assistance, financial grants and education.
The birth certificate, she said, also facilitates the exercise of fundamental freedom rights, such as the right to vote and be voted for; right to inherit; seek employment; access social security benefits; buy and own properties; and to further secure other documentary identification.
“It is likewise a necessary document to establish family ties and better opportunities for the child thru the process of adoption,” she said.
“As a component of the civil registration system of a country, it contributes to the effective governance by providing data that will feed into the provision of services and comprises a part of an efficient response to the needs and requirements of the populace.”
Poe said an unregistered individual might have limited or no access to the said entitlements and opportunities.
“An unregistered child not only will have diminished access to medical, educational and social benefits provided by the State, s/he is likewise susceptible to abuses on account of minority, such as commercial and sexual exploitation, abuse, and human trafficking,” she said in the explanatory note of the bill.
“Verily, the brunt of non-registration is exponentially greater for the Children in Need of Special Protection (CNSP). To this category belong children who are vulnerable to or are victims of abuse, neglect, exploitation, cruelty, discrimination, violence, and other conditions prejudicial to their development.”
Poe, who was found abandoned as a baby in a church in Iloilo , also wants foundlings to be embraced in the term CNSP and thusly be accorded the same registration process under her proposed measure. CDG/rga
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