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Philippines: Law on Rectification of Simulated Birth Records Enacted

(Apr. 26, 2019) On March 14, 2019, the Philippine government announced in the Official Gazette the enactment of the Simulated Birth Rectification Act (Republic Act No. 11222), which grants amnesty to individuals who falsified civil registry records to make it appear in a child’s birth record that the child was born to a woman who is not the biological mother, thereby causing the loss of the child’s true identity and status. (P&L Law Firm, Primer on Simulated Birth Rectification Act (Republic Act No. 11222), PHILIPPINE E-LEGAL FORUM (Mar. 16, 2019); Christine Cudis, New Law Makes Adoption Faster, Simpler, PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY (Mar. 14, 2019).)

The new law also provides for a streamlined adoption procedure to rectify the status and filiation of a child whose birth was simulated, provided that applicable requirements are met. (Cudis, supra.)

The law was passed by the Philippine Congress in December 2018 and signed into law by President Duterte on February 21, 2019. (An Act Allowing the Rectification of Simulated Birth Records and Prescribing Administrative Adoption Proceedings for the Purpose, Republic Act No. 11222 (Simulated Birth Rectification Act), OFFICIAL GAZETTE, Mar. 14, 2019).)

Provisions of the Law

Specifically, this law allows the correction of the simulated birth record as long as the falsity that was perpetrated is proved to have been made in pursuit of the child’s best interest and that the simulated parents have treated the child in question as their own. (Cudis, supra.)

Instead of going through regular adoption court proceedings as part of the rectification process, individuals who wish to adopt the child in question may file an administrative petition with a social welfare and development official from their place of residency. The Secretary of Social Welfare has the authority to decide on the petition within 30 days from receiving a recommendation from the agency’s regional director. (Id.)

Upon approval of the petition, the adopted child is to be considered a legitimate daughter or son and is thus entitled to all legal rights derived from such status. (Id.)

This law provides that, in order to be properly implemented, the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development must issue pertinent regulations within 60 days after the law becomes effective. Prior to issuing the regulations, the secretary must hold consultations with a number of relevant government entities (including the Department of Justice, the civil registry authority, and the Council for the Welfare of Children), as well as with children’s rights civil society organizations. (Simulated Birth Rectification Act sec. 23.)