Republic Act No. 9523 March 12, 2009
AN ACT REQUIRING CERTIFICATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT (DSWD) TO DECLARE A "CHILD LEGALLY AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION" AS A PREREQUISITE FOR ADOPTION PROCEEDINGS, AMENDING FOR THIS PURPOSE CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8552, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE DOMESTIC ADOPTION ACT OF 1998, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8043, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE INTER-COUNTRY ADOPTION ACT OF 1995, PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 603, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE CHILD AND YOUTH WELFARE CODE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
"x x x.
Section 3. Petition. – The petition shall be in the form of an affidavit, subscribed and sworn to before any person authorized by law to administer oaths. It shall contain facts necessary to establish the merits of the petition and shall state the circumstances surrounding the abandonment or neglect of the child.
The petition shall be supported by the following documents:
(1) Social Case Study Report made by the DSWD, local government unit, licensed or accredited child-caring or child-placing agency or institution charged with the custody of the child;
(2) Proof that efforts were made to locate the parent(s) or any known relatives of the child. The following shall be considered sufficient:
(a) Written certification from a local or national radio or television station that the case was aired on three (3) different occasions;
(b) Publication in one (1) newspaper of general circulation;
(c) Police report or barangay certification from the locality where the child was found or a certified copy of a tracing report issued by the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), National Headquarters (NHQ), Social Service Division, which states that despite due diligence, the child's parents could not be found; and
(d) Returned registered mail to the last known address of the parent(s) or known relatives, if any.
(3) Birth certificate, if available; and
(4) Recent photograph of the child and photograph of the child upon abandonment or admission to the agency or institution.
Section 4. Procedure for the Filing of the Petition. – The petition shall be filed in the regional office of the DSWD where the child was found or abandoned.
The Regional Director shall examine the petition and its supporting documents, if sufficient in form and substance and shall authorize the posting of the notice of the petition conspicuous place for five (5) consecutive days in the locality where the child was found.
The Regional Director shall act on the same and shall render a recommendation not later than five (5) working days after the completion of its posting. He/she shall transmit a copy of his/her recommendation and records to the Office of the Secretary within forty-eight (48) hours from the date of the recommendation.
Section 5. Declaration of Availability for Adoption. – Upon finding merit in the petition, the Secretary shall issue a certification declaring the child legally available for adoption within seven (7) working days from receipt of the recommendation.
Said certification, by itself shall be the sole basis for the immediate issuance by the local civil registrar of a foundling certificate. Within seven (7) working days, the local civil registrar shall transmit the founding certificate to the National Statistic Office (NSO).
Section 6. Appeal. – The decision of the Secretary shall be appealable to the Court of Appeals within five (5) days from receipt of the decision by the petitioner, otherwise the same shall be final and executory.
Section 7. Declaration of Availability for Adoption of Involuntarily Committed Child and Voluntarily Committed Child. – The certificate declaring a child legally available for adoption in case of an involuntarily committed child under Article 141, paragraph 4(a) and Article 142 of Presidential Decree No. 603 shall be issued by the DSWD within three (3) months following such involuntary commitment.
In case of voluntary commitment as contemplated in Article 154 of Presidential Decree No. 603, the certification declaring the child legally available for adoption shall be issued by the Secretary within three (3) months following the filing of the Deed of Voluntary Commitment, as signed by the parent(s) with the DSWD.
Upon petition filed with the DSWD, the parent(s) or legal guardian who voluntarily committed a child may recover legal custody and parental authority over him/her from the agency or institution to which such child was voluntarily committed when it is shown to the satisfaction of the DSWD that the parent(s) or legal guardian is in a position to adequately provide for the needs of the child: Provided, That, the petition for restoration is filed within (3) months after the signing of the Deed of Voluntary Commitment.
Section 8. Certification. – The certification that a child is legally available for adoption shall be issued by the DSWD in lieu of a judicial order, thus making the entire process administrative in nature.
The certification, shall be, for all intents and purposes, the primary evidence that the child is legally available in a domestic adoption proceeding, as provided in Republic Act No. 8552 and in an inter-country adoption proceeding, as provided in Republic Act No. 8043.
x x x."