Thank you, Mr. President, I would also like to thank the Deputy Minority Floor Leader for allowing me to take the floor and just make this very short manifestation.
Good evening, Secretary and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) team here. A short manifestation, I would like to thank the DSWD Sec. for pursuing what we discussed in the hearing on the allocation of the budget of NACC (National Authority on Child Care), which was lodged with DSWD.
Salamat kasi matutupad naman nila [NACC] ang kanilang mandato. And although still attached to [DSWD], I expect Mr. Secretary that your team will be able to give them your full support, kasi ‘baby agency’ pa lang naman yan di ba? So it is only natural hindi ho ba na alagaan din kung ano ang magagawa dahil there’s much that we can achieve through this attached agency by way of finding homes for children in need, not just permanent homes by way of adoption, but temporary homes by way of foster care.
So yun lang, Madame Chair, yung iba madali naman ma-discuss, the Sec. has given his commitment that he will work with us. On that note, we thank the Sec. and his team, and the Chairperson. Thank you, Mr. President. #
“A loving and caring family for every abandoned, neglected, and orphaned child could soon become a reality.”
Thus said Senator Pia S. Cayetano, as she welcomed the signing of the Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act, or Republic Act No. 11642.
“The new law simplifies the country’s domestic adoption system by making it administrative in nature, and streamlining the processes and requirements,” said Cayetano, an adoptive mother, and a co-author and co-sponsor of the measure.
She noted that the law will establish the National Authority for Child Care (NACC), an agency under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that will exclusively handle all adoption, foster care, and other alternative child care cases, and will have its own personnel.
The establishment of the NACC and the streamlining of the adoption procedures were among the major amendments introduced by Cayetano to the final version of the measure.
“These reforms seek to speed up adoption proceedings while ensuring the best interest of the child. I know this law will save so many parents and children from the heartbreak of waiting and waiting for their adoption to be final,” she stressed.
“I started work on placing abandoned and neglected children in temporary homes over 10 years ago, which resulted in the passage of the Foster Care Act (RA 10165). This Domestic Adoption law which I have actively worked on for over five years completes the structural reforms that are needed to ensure that every child in need can have a home to call his/her own,” noted the senator.
“I too am an adoptive parent blessed to be raising my son who is now 11. I know of so many heartbreaking stories where young children have become teenagers before they got adopted, if at all, due to the bureaucracy, insufficient personnel handling adoption cases, and lengthy court proceedings,” she explained.
“I can now say that we have a comprehensive domestic administrative adoption law. I have renewed hope that prospective parents won’t have to wait too long to bring a child into their loving arms, and for children without parents to find their forever family sooner,” concluded Cayetano. #
Senator Pia S. Cayetano is pushing to synchronize the country’s different adoption laws to hasten the process of finding a ‘second home’ for abandoned and neglected children across the country.
Cayetano delivered a privilege speech on Wednesday (February 26) to urge her fellow senators to support her bill, the Alternative Child Care Act (SBN 61). Her speech also coincided with the commemoration of February as Adoption Consciousness Month.
Citing a report from the United Nations’ Children’s Right and Emergency Relief Organization (UNICEF), Cayetano said about 1.8 million Filipino children remain abandoned or neglected for various reasons, including extreme poverty, domestic problems, natural disasters, armed conflicts, and other issues.
Meanwhile, the senator cited data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) showing that only around 2,191 children in the country have been placed for domestic adoption between 2010 and 2018.
“In eight years, [that’s] less than 300 children we are placing for adoption [yearly],” she pointed out.
“It is my personal conviction that we consider the state of each of these [abandoned and neglected] children,” added Cayetano, herself a foster parent and eventual adoptive mother to her 8-year-old son, Rene Lucas.
SBN 61 seeks to codify the country’s different laws on alternative child care and further improve the country’s foster care programs, such that out-of-home care provided by residential facilities shall only be a last resort for abandoned and neglected children.
The bill also makes domestic adoption administrative in nature in order to streamline its procedures and make formal adoption more accessible to families who are willing and qualified to adopt a child.
“The Constitution states that, ‘the State shall defend the right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development,’” Cayetano cited in her privilege speech.
“I leave all of you with that visual of 1.8 million Filipino children without families who will care for and love them – not a mother or father to read them a bedtime story, to tuck them in, to even ensure that they come home when the sun goes down,” she added
“This is the objective of improving our law, so that we can expedite our [adoption and foster care] procedures, and we can place these children [under foster or adoptive families] faster so that they can have the home that they deserve,” the senator concluded. #
Senator Pia S. Cayetano has filed a measure to codify the country’s laws on alternative child care with the goal of simplifying the process of giving abandoned and neglected children a second chance at having a loving and caring family.
Senate Bill No. 61 or the ‘Alternative Child Care Code of the Philippines’ was among the first ten priority bills that the returning senator filed during her first week in the Senate as part of her long-term advocacy to promote children’s rights and welfare.
Citing a report by the United Nations’ Children’s Right and Emergency Relief Organization, Cayetano said about 1.8 million Filipino children are abandoned or neglected due to several reasons, including extreme poverty, natural disasters, armed conflicts, and other problems at home.
“These children are usually placed under institutional care through state-run or accredited residential care facilities, while others end up on the streets,” according to Cayetano, herself a foster parent and eventual adoptive mom to her 8-year-old son, Rene Lucas.
“Sadly, there are not enough institutions to attend to their needs, not to mention the fact that these institutions cannot give the warmth and affection only a family could provide,” she lamented.
Cayetano’s bill seeks to address the issue by streamlining government policies on alternative child care, such that the out-of-home care provided by residential care facilities shall only be a last resort for the children.
“[T]he State shall ensure that a child without parental care or at risk of losing it are provided with alternative care options such as foster care, kinship care, kafalah (Islamic provision of alternative care), guardianship, or residential care, including family-like care,” the measure read.
SBN 61 likewise makes adoption administrative in nature to effectively streamline its procedures and make formal adoption accessible.
Furthermore, the bill calls for the establishment of a one-stop agency to improve and expedite the process of all modes of alternative child care. The National Authority for Child Care (NACC) shall be an attached agency of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), tasked to formulate and develop policies on pre-adoption, adoption, inter-country adoption, foster care, guardianship leading to adoption, and other alternative child care policies.
This includes programs that will protect the Filipino child from abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and any adoption practice that is harmful, detrimental and prejudicial to his/her best interests.
The NACC shall also be in charge of conducting advocacy campaigns on alternative child care, in cooperation with various national government agencies, non-government organizations, peoples’ organizations, faith based organizations, and civil society.
Moreover, Cayetano’s bill seeks to make Foster Care a mandatory and permanent program of the NACC. The agency shall be tasked to develop programs that will ensure the awareness and responsiveness of local government officials in the promotion of the foster care system in every city, municipality, or barangay.
The institutionalization of foster care in the country as a preferred way of caring for abused, abandoned, or neglected children is mandated by Republic Act 10165 or the Foster Care Act of 2012, of which Cayetano was the principal author and sponsor.
“We really need to see more modes of alternative child care working in our communities, as these are proven to be more beneficial than institutional care, in that it provides children with the love and attention that can only be found in a family setting,” Cayetano said, drawing from her own experience as a foster parent and adoptive mom. #
Returning senator Pia S. Cayetano has filed her first 10 bills in the Senate with the aim of fulfilling her campaign promise to champion legislation that will help achieve the country’s development goals.
Her proposed measures, Cayetano stressed, are anchored on the government’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations (UN) Member-States, including the Philippines, in 2015.
The PDP 2017-2022 is the first medium-term plan launched by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) under the Duterte administration, leading to a vision known as “AmBisyon Natin 2040,” where Filipino families are seen to enjoy a “strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life” in 25 years.
The SDGs, meanwhile, are a collection of 17 global goals set by the UN General Assembly, with strategies geared towards improving health and education, reducing inequality, spurring economic growth, and addressing climate change. In line with these goals, Cayetano filed her first batch of bills in the Senate and plans to file more measures in the coming weeks to address challenges hindering sustainable and inclusive growth for the country.
Furthermore, she vowed to continue focusing on her long-time advocacies as a legislator, including education, health, women and family welfare, and sustainable communities.
Among Cayetano’s priority measures are:
1. Alternative Child Care Code of the Philippines
2. Educational Roadmap Act
3. Priority Health Infrastructure Act (Build, Build, Build for Health)
4. Priority Infrastructure for Public Higher Education Institutions Act (Build, Build, Build for Education)
5. Sustainable Cities and Communities Act
6. Sustainable Transportation Act
7. Act Recognizing the Foreign Decree of Termination of Marriage
8. Amendments to the Family Code of the Philippines (to ensure the equality of men and women under the laws of marriage and family relations)
9. Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Act
10. Act Providing for Additional Support and Compensation for Educators in Basic Education (Teachers salary increase)
“We already have a set of goals that we envision for future generations of Filipinos. What we need is a comprehensive action plan to ensure that our goals will be met,” Cayetano said.
“For my part, I will continue what I started since my first term as a legislator and push for more laws to empower Filipinos through education, proper healthcare services, children and family welfare policies, and sustainable development,” the senator concluded.#
Taguig Representative and senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano on Friday led the launching of Taguig City’s Foster Care Orientation and Recruitment program, which seeks to encourage foster parenting among more Filipino families.
The institutionalization of foster care in the country as a preferred way of caring for abused, abandoned, or neglected children is mandated by Republic Act 10165 or the Foster Care Act of 2012.
The principal author and sponsor of the measure, Cayetano said she drew her inspiration from her own experience in fostering and eventually adopting her son, Rene Lucas Cayetano. “Ang wish ko ay mapalaki ang lahat ng bata sa uri ng pamilyang kinalakihan ko – a family full of love, where the parents have a sense of responsibility to prepare their children for a better future” the congresswoman said.
Cayetano lauded the Taguig city government, under the leadership of Mayor Lani Cayetano, for serving as a model-city in promoting the importance of foster care through its orientation and recruitment program for foster parents.
“I worked on the Foster Care Act for quite some time until it became a law. We really need to see it working in our local government units,” she said. RA 10165 stresses that in most cases, foster care is more beneficial than institutional care, in that it provides children with the proper attention and love that only families can give.
For her part, the congresswoman stressed that there is a need to encourage more Filipinos to consider being foster families to neglected or abandoned children, and to subsequently train them on child care and development.
According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), about 1.8 million Filipino children are abandoned or neglected due to several reasons, including extreme poverty, natural disasters, and armed conflicts.
On the other hand, the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) 2017 annual report showed that only 5,819 children were placed in residential care facilities run by the agency. The rest were either placed under institutional care or ended up on the streets. Apart from the launching of the orientation and recruitment program, Cayetano also witnessed the christening of three babies residing at the Taguig Lingap Center, the city’s temporary shelter for children at risk and the elderly.