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RepublicofthePhilippines CongressofthePhilippines MetroManila FourthSpecialSession Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Wednesday, the eleventh day of February, nineteenhundredandninetyeight.

REPUBLICACTNO.8552
AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE RULES AND POLICIES ON THE DOMESTIC ADOPTIONOFFILIPINOCHILDRENANDFOROTHERPURPOSES Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congressassembled: ARTICLEI GeneralProvisions SECTION1.ShortTitle.ThisActshallbeknownasthe"DomesticAdoptionActof 1998." SEC.2.DeclarationofPolicies. a) ItisherebydeclaredthepolicyoftheStatetoensurethateverychildremains under the care of his/her parent(s) and be provided with love, care, understanding and security towards the full and harmonious development of his/her personality. Only when such efforts prove insufficient and no appropriateplacementoradoptionwithinthechild'sextendedfamilyisavailable shalladoptionbyanunrelatedpersonbeconsidered. b) In all matters relating to the care, custody and adoption of a child, his/her interest shall be paramount consideration in accordance with the tenets set forth in the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child; UN DeclarationonSocialandLegalPrinciplesRelatingtotheProtectionandWelfare ofChildrenwithSpecialReferencetoFosterPlacementandAdoption,Nationally and Internationally;and theHague Conventionon theProtection ofChildren and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Towards this end, the Stateshallprovidealternativeprotectionandassistancethroughfostercareor adoptionforeverychildwhoisneglected,orphanedorabandoned. c) ItshallalsobeaStatepolicyto: (i) (ii) Safeguard the biological parent(s) from making hurried decisions to relinguishhis/herparentalauthorityoverhis/herownchild; Prevent the child from unnecessary separation from his/her biological parent(s);

(iii)

Protect adoptive parent(s) from attempts to disturb his/her parental authorityandcustodyoverhis/heradoptedchild. Any voluntary or involuntary termination of parental authority shall be administrativelyorjudiciallydeclaredsoastoestablishthestatusofthe childas"legallyavailableforadoption"andhis/hercustodytransferredto theDepartmentofSocialWelfareandDevelopmentortoanydulylicensed andaccreditedchildplacingorchildcaringagency,whichentityshallbe authorizedtotakestepsforthepermanentplacementofthechild;

(iv) (v)

Conduct public information and educational campaigns to promote a positiveenvironmentforadoption; Ensurethatsufficientcapacityexistswithingovernmentandprivatesector agencies to handle adoption inquiries, process domestic adoption applications,andofferadoptionrelatedservicesincludingbutnotlimited to,parentpreparationandpostadoptioneducationandcounselling;and Encourage domestic adoption so as to preserve the child's identity and cultureinhis/hernativeland,andonlywhenthisisnotavailableshall intercountryadoptionbeconsideredasalastresort.

(vi)

SEC.3.DefinitionofTerms.ForpurposesofthisAct,thefollowingtermsshallbe definedas: a) "Child"isapersonbeloweighteen(18)yearsofage. b) "Achildlegallyavailableforadoption"referstoachildwhohasbeenvoluntarily or involuntarily committed to the Department or to a duly licensed and accreditedchildplacingorchildcaringagency,freedoftheparentalauthorityof his/her biological parent(s) or guardian or adopter(s) in case of rescission of adoption. c) "Voluntarily committed child" is one whose parent(s) knowingly and willingly relinguishesparentalauthoritytotheDepartment. d) "Involuntarilycommittedchild"isonewhoseparent(s),knownorunknown,has been permanently and judicially deprived of parental authority due to abandonment; substantial, continuous, or repeated neglect; abuse; or incompetencetodischargeparentalresponsibilities. e) "Abandoned child" refers to one who has no proper parental care or guardianshiporwhoseparent(s)hasdesertedhim/herforaperiodofatleastsix (6)continuousmonthsandhasbeenjudiciallydeclaredassuch. f) "Supervised trial custody" is a period of time within which a social worker overseastheadjustmentandemotionalreadinessofbothadopter(s)andadoptee instabilizingtheirfilialrelationship.

g) "Department"referstotheDepartmentofSocialWelfareandDevelopment. h) "Childplacing agency" is a duly licensed and accredited agency by the Departmenttoprovidecomprehensivechildwelfareservicesincluding,butnot

limited to, receiving applications for adoption, evaluating the prospective adoptiveparents,andpreparingtheadoptionhomestudy. i) "Childcaring agency" is a duly licensed and accredited agency by the Department that provides twenty four (24) hour residential care services for abandoned,orphaned,neglected,orvoluntarilycommittedchildren. "Simulationofbirth"isthetamperingofthecivilregistrymakingitappearinthe birth records that a certain child was born to a person who is not his/her biologicalmother,causingsuchchildtolosehis/hertrueidentityandstatus. ARTICLEII PreAdoptionServices SEC. 4. Counselling Services. The Department shall provide the services of licensedsocialworkerstothefollowing: a) BiologicalParent(s) Counsellingshallbeprovidedtotheparent(s)beforeand afterbirthofhis/herchild.Nobindingcommitmenttoanadoptionplanshallbe permittedbeforethebirthofhis/herchild.aperiodofsix(6)monthsshallbe allowed for the biological parent(s) to reconsider any decision to relinguish his/herchildforadoptionbeforethedecisionbecomesirrevocable.Counselling andrehabilitationservicesshallalsobeofferedtothebiologicalparent(s)after he/shehasrelinguishedhis/herchildforadoption. Stepsshallbetakenbythedepartmenttoensurethatnohurrieddecisionsare made and all alternatives for the child's future and the implications of each alternativehavebeenprovided. b) Prospective Adoptive Parent(s) Counselling sessions, adoption fora and seminars,amongothers,shallbeprovidedtoprospectiveadoptiveparent(s)to resolvepossibleadoptionissuesandtopreparehim/herforeffectiveparenting. c) Prospective Adoptee Counselling sessions shall be provided to ensure that he/sheunderstandsthenatureandeffectsofadoptionandisabletoexpress his/herviewsonadoptioninaccordancewithhis/herageandlevelofmaturity. SEC.5.LocationofUnknownParent(s).ItshallbethedutyoftheDepartmentor the childplacing or childcaring agency which has custody of the child to exert all effortstolocatehis/herunknownbiologicalparent(s).Ifsucheffortsfail,thechildshall beregisteredasafoundlingandsubsequentlybethesubjectoflegalproceedingswhere he/sheshallbedeclaredabandoned. SEC.6.SupportServices.TheDepartmentshalldevelopapreadoptionprogram whichshallinclude,amongothers,theabovementionedservices. ARTICLEIII Eligibility SEC.7.WhoMayAdopt.Thefollowingmayadopt:

j)

a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights,ofgoodmoralcharacter,hasnotbeenconvictedofanycrimeinvolving moralturpitude,emotionallyandpsychologicallycapableofcaringforchildren, atleastsixteen(16)yearsolderthantheadoptee,andwhoisinapositionto supportandcareforhis/herchildreninkeepingwiththemeansofthefamily. Therequirementofsixteen(16)yearsdifferencebetweentheageoftheadopter andtheadopteemaybewaivedwhentheadopteristhebiologicalparentofthe adoptee,oristhespouseoftheadoptee'sparent; b) Any alien possessing the same qualification as above stated for Filipino nationals: Provided, That his/her country has diplomatic relations with the RepublicofthePhilippines,thathe/shehasbeenlivinginthePhilippinesforat leastthree(3)continuousyearspriortothefilingoftheapplicationforadoption andmaintainssuchresidenceuntiltheadoptiondecreeisentered,thathe/she hasbeencertifiedbyhis/herdiplomaticorconsularofficeoranyappropriate government agency that he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in his/her country, and that his/her government allows the adoptee to enter his/her country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided, further, That the requirementsonresidencyandcertificationofthealien'squalificationstoadopt inhis/hercountrymaybewaivedforthefollowing: (i) (ii) (iii) aformerFilipinocitizenwhoseekstoadoptarelativewithinthefourth (4th)degreeofconsanguinityoraffinity;or one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse;or onewhoismarriedtoaFilipinocitizenandseekstoadoptjointlywith his/herspousearelativewithinthefourth(4th)degreeofconsanguinityor affinityoftheFilipinospouse;or

c) Theguardianwithrespecttothewardaftertheterminationoftheguardianship andclearanceofhis/herfinancialaccountabilities. Husbandandwifeshalljointlyadapt,exceptinthefollowingcases: (i) (ii) ifonespouseseekstoadoptthelegitimateson/daughteroftheother;or if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter: Provided, however, That the other spouse has signified his/her consent thereto;or ifthespousesarelegallyseparatedfromeachother.

(iii)

In case husband and wife jointly adopt, or one spouse adopts the illegitimate son/daughteroftheother,jointparentalauthorityshallbeexercisedbythespouses. SEC.8.WhoMayBeAdopted.Thefollowingmaybeadopted: a) Anypersonbeloweighteen(18)yearsofagewhohasbeenadministrativelyor judiciallydeclaredavailableforadoption; b) Thelegitimateson/daughterofonespousebytheotherspouse;

c) Anillegitimateson/daughterbyaqualifiedadoptertoimprovehis/herstatusto thatoflegitimacy; d) Apersonoflegalage,ifpriortotheadoption,saidpersonhasbeenconsistently consideredandtreatedbytheadopter(s)ashis/herownchildsinceminority; e) Achildwhoseadoptionhasbeenpreviouslyrescinded;or f) A child whose biological or adoptive parent(s) has died: Provided, That no proceedingsshallbeinitiatedwithinsix(6)monthsfromthetimeofdeathof saidparent(s).

SEC. 9. Whose Consent is Necessary to the Adoption. After being properly counselledandinformedofhis/herrighttogiveorwithholdhis/herapprovalofthe adoption,thewrittenconsentofthefollowingtotheadoptionisherebyrequired: a) Theadoptee,iften(10)yearsofageorover; b) The biological parent(s) of the child, if known, or the legal guardian, or the propergovernmentinstrumentalitywhichhaslegalcustodyofthechild; c) Thelegitimateandadoptedsons/daughters,ten(10)yearsofageorover,ofthe adopter(s)andadoptee,ifany: d) Theillegitimatesons/daughters,ten(10)yearsofageorover,oftheadopterif livingwithsaidadopterandthelatter'sspouse,ifany;and e) Thespouse,ifany,ofthepersonadoptingortobeadopted. ARTICLEIV Procedure SEC. 10. Hurried Decisions. In all proceedings for adoption, the court shall require proof that the biological parent(s) has been properly counselled to prevent him/herfrommakinghurrieddecisionscausedbystrainoranxietytogiveupthechild, andtosustainthatallmeasurestostrengthenthefamilyhavebeenexhaustedandthat anyprolongedstayofthechildinhis/herownhomewillbeinimicaltohis/herwelfare andinterest. SEC.11. CaseStudy.Nopetitionforadoptionshallbesetforhearingunlessa licensed social worker of the Department, the social service office of the local governmentunit,oranychildplacingorchildcaringagencyhadmadeacasestudyof theadoptee,his/herbiologicalparent(s),aswellastheadopter(s),andhassubmitted thereportandrecommendationsonthemattertothecourthearingsuchpetition. Atthetimeofpreparationoftheadoptee'scasestudy,theconcernedsocialworker shallconfirmwiththecivilRegistrytherealidentityandregisterednameoftheadoptee. IfthebirthoftheadopteewasnotregisteredwiththeCivilRegistry,itshallbethe responsibilityoftheconcernedsocialworkertoensurethattheadopteeisregistered. Thecasestudyontheadopteeshallestablishthathe/sheislegallyavailablefor adoptionandthatthedocumentstosupportthisfactarevalidandauthentic.Further,

thecasestudyoftheadopter(s)shallascertainhis/hergenuineintentionsandthatthe adoptioninthebestinterestofthechild. TheDepartmentshallinterveneonbehalfoftheadopteeifitfinds,aftertheconduct of the case studies, that the petition should be denied. The case studies and other relevantdocumentsandrecordspertainingtotheadopteeandtheadoptionshallbe preservedbytheDepartment. SEC. 12. Supervised Trial Custody. No petition for adoption shall be finally granted until the adopter(s) has been given by the court a supervised trial custody period for at least six (6) months within which the parties are expected to adjust psychologically and emotionally to each other and establish a bonding relationship. Duringsaidperiod,temporaryparentalauthorityshallbevestedintheadopter(s). Thecourtmaymotupropriooruponmotionofanypartyreducethetrialperiodifit findsthesametobeinthebestinterestoftheadoptee,statingthereasonsforthe reductionoftheperiod.However,foralienadopter(s),he/shemustcompletethesix(6) monthtrialcustodyexceptforthoseenumeratedinSec.7(b)(i)(ii)(iii). If the child is below seven (7) years of age and is placed with the prospective adopter(s)throughapreadoptionplacementauthorityissuedbytheDepartment,the prospectiveadopter(s)shallenjoyallthebenefitstowhichbiologicalparent(s)isentitled fromthedatetheadopteeisplacedwiththeprospectiveadopter(s). SEC.13.DecreeofAdoption.If,afterthepublicationoftheorderofhearinghas beencompliedwith,andnooppositionhasbeeninterposedtothepetition,andafter consideration of the case studies, the qualifications of the adopter(s), trial custody report and the evidence submitted, the court is convinced that the petitioners are qualified to adopt, and that the adoption would redound to the best interest of the adoptee,adecreeofadoptionshallbeenteredwhichshallbeeffectiveasofthedatethe originalpetitionwasfiled.Thisprovisionshallalsoapplyincasethepetitioner(s)dies beforetheissuanceofthedecreeofadoptiontoprotecttheinterestoftheadoptee.The decreeshallstatethenamebywhichthechildistobeknown. SEC.14.CivilRegistryRecord.Anamendedcertificateofbirthshallbeissuedby the Civil Registry, as required by the Rules of Court, attesting to the fact that the adopteeisthechildoftheadopter(s)bybeingregisteredwithhis/hersurname.The original certificate of birth shall be stamped "cancelled" with the annotation of the issuanceofanamendedbirthcertificateinitsplaceandshallbesealedinthecivil registryrecords.Thenewbirthcertificatetobeissuedtotheadopteeshallnotbearany notationthatitisanamendedissue. SEC. 15. Confidential Nature of Proceedings and Records. All hearings in adoptioncasesshallbeconfidentialandshallnotbeopentothepublic.Allrecords, books, and papers relating to the adoption cases in the files of the court, the Department, or any other agency or institution participating in the adoption proceedingsshallbekeptstrictlyconfidential.

If the court finds that the disclosure of the information to a third person is necessaryforpurposesconnectedwithorarisingoutoftheadoptionandwillbeforthe best interest of the adoptee, the court may merit the necessary information to be released,restrictingthepurposesforwhichitmaybeused. ARTICLEV EffectsofAdoption SEC.16. ParentalAuthority.Exceptincaseswherethebiologicalparentisthe spouseoftheadopter,alllegaltiesbetweenthebiologicalparent(s)andtheadoptee shallbeseveredandthesameshallthenbevestedontheadopter(s). SEC.17.Legitimacy.Theadopteeshallbeconsideredthelegitimateson/daughter oftheadopter(s)forallintentsandpurposesassuchisentitledtoalltherightsand obligations provided by law to legitimate sons/daughters born to them without discriminationofanykind.Tothisend,theadopteeisentitledtolove,guidanceand supportinkeepingwiththemeansofthefamily. SEC. 18. Succession. In legal and intestate succession, the adopter(s) and the adopteeshallhavereciprocalrightsofsuccessionwithoutdistinctionfromlegitimate filiation.However,iftheadopteeandhis/herbiologicalparent(s)hadleftawill,thelaw ontestamentarysuccessionshallgovern. ARTICLEVI RescissionofAdoption SEC.19.GroundforRescissionofAdoption.Uponpetitionoftheadoptee,with theassistanceoftheDepartmentifaminororifovereighteen(18)yearsofagebutis notincapacitated,asguardianorcounsel,theadoptionmayberescindedonanyofthe following grounds committed by the adopter(s): (a) repeated physical and verbal maltreatmentbytheadopter(s)despitehavingundergonecounselling;(b)attempton thelifeoftheadoptee;(c)sexualassaultorviolence;or(d)abandonmentandfailureto complywithparentalobligations. Adoption,beingintheinterestofthechild,shallnotbesubjecttorescissionbythe adopter(s).However,theadopter(s)maydisinherittheadopteeforcausesprovidedin Article919oftheCivilCode. SEC.20.EffectsofRescission.Ifthepetitionisgranted,theparentalauthorityof theadoptee'sbiologicalparent(s),ifknown,orthelegalcustodyoftheDepartmentshall berestorediftheadopteeisstill aminororincapacitated.Thereciprocalrightsand obligationsoftheadopter(s)andtheadopteetoeachothershallbeextinguished. ThecourtshallordertheCivilRegistrartocanceltheamendedcertificateofbirthof theadopteeandrestorehis/heroriginalbirthcertificate.

Successionrightsshallreverttoitsstatuspriortoadoption,butonlyasofthedate of judgmentofjudicialrescission.Vestedrightsacquiredpriortojudicialrescission shallberespected. Alltheforegoingeffectsofrescissionofadoptionshallbewithoutprejudicetothe penaltiesimposableunderthePenalCodeifthecriminalactsareproperlyproven. ARTICLEVII ViolationsandPenalties SEC.21.ViolationsandPenalties. a) Thepenaltyofimprisonmentrangingfromsix(6)yearsandone(1)daytotwelve (12)yearsand/orafineofnotlessthanFiftythousandpesos(P50,000.00),but notmorethanTwohundredthousandpesos(P200,000.00)atthediscretionof thecourtshallbeimposedonanypersonwhoshallcommitanyofthefollowing acts: i) ii) iii) obtaining consent for an adoption through coercion, undue influence, fraud,impropermaterialinducement,orothersimilaracts; noncompliancewiththeproceduresandsafeguardsprovidedbythelawfor adoption;or subjecting or exposing the child to be adopted to danger, abuse, or exploitation.

b) Any person who shall cause the fictitious registration of the birth of a child underthename(s)ofaperson(s)whoisnothis/herbiologicalparent(s)shallbe guilty of simulation of birth, and shall be punished by prison mayor in its mediumperiodandafinenotexceedingFiftythousandpesos(P50,000.00). Anyphysicianornurseorhospitalpersonnelwho,inviolationofhis/heroathof office,shallcooperateintheexecutionoftheabovementionedcrimeshallsufferthe penaltieshereinprescribedandalsothepenaltyofpermanentdisqualification. Anypersonwhoshallviolateestablishedregulationsrelatingtotheconfidentiality and integrity of records, documents, and communications of adoption applications, cases,andprocessesshallsufferthepenaltyofimprisonmentrangingfromone(1)year andone(1)daytotwo(2)yearsand/orafineofnotlessthanFivethousandpesos (P5,000.00)butnotmorethanTenthousandpesos(P10,000.00)atthediscretionofthe court. A penalty lower by two (2) degrees than that prescribed for the consummated offenseunderthisArticleshallbeimposedupontheprincipalsoftheattempttocommit anyoftheactshereinenumerated. Acts punishable under this Article, when committed by a syndicate or when it involvestwo(2)ormorechildrenshallbeconsideredasanoffenseconstitutingchild traffickingandshallmeritthepenaltyofreclusionpepetua.

ActspunishableunderthisArticlearedeemedcommittedbyasyndicateifcarried outbyagroupofthree(3)ormorepersonsconspiringand/orconfederatingwithone anotherincarryingoutanyoftheunlawfulactsdefinedunderthisArticle.Penaltiesas arehereinprovided,shallbeinadditiontoanyotherpenaltieswhichmaybeimposed for the same acts punishable under other laws, ordinances, executive orders, and proclamations. Whentheoffenderisanalien,he/sheshallbedeportedimmediatelyafterserviceof sentenceandperpetuallyexcludedfromentrytothecountry. Any government official, employee or functionary who shall be found guilty of violating any of the provisions on this Act, or who shall conspire with private individuals shall, in addition to the aboveprescribed penalties, be penalized in accordancewithexistingcivilservicelaws,rulesandregulations:Provided,Thatupon filingofacase,eitheradministrativeorcriminal,saidgovernmentofficial,employee,or functionaryconcernedshallautomaticallysuffersuspensionuntiltheresolutionofthe case. SEC. 22. Rectification of Simulated Births. A person who has, prior to the effectivityofthisAct,simulatedthebirthofachildshallnotbepunishedforsuchact: Provided, Thatthesimulationofbirthwasmadeforthebestinterestofthechildand thathe/shehasbeenconsistentlyconsideredandtreatedbythatpersonashis/her own son/daughter: Provided,further, Thatthe applicationfor correctionof thebirth registration and petition for adoption shall be filed within five (5) years from the effectivity of this Act and completed thereafter: Provided, finally, That such person complieswiththeprocedureasspecifiedinArticleIVofthisActandotherrequirements asdeterminedbytheDepartment. ARTICLEVIII FinalProvisions SEC.23.AdoptionResourceandReferralOffice.Thereshallbeestablishedan Adoption Resources and Referral Office under the Department with the following functions:(a)monitortheexistence,number,andflowofchildrenlegallyavailablefor adoptionandprospectiveadopter(s)soastofacilitatetheirmatching;(b)maintaina nationwide information and educational campaign on domestic adoption; (c) keep recordsofadoptionproceedings;(d)generateresourcestohelpchildcaringandchild placing agencies and foster homes maintain viability; and (e) do policy research in collaborationwiththeIntercountryAdoptionBoardandotherconcernedagencies.The officeshallbemannedbyadoptionexpertsfromthepublicandprivatesectors. SEC.24.ImplementingRulesandRegulations.Withinsix(6)monthsfromthe promulgationofthisAct,theDepartment,withtheCouncilfortheWelfareofChildren, theOfficeoftheCivilRegistryGeneral,theDepartmentofJustice,OfficeoftheSolicitor General, and two (2) private individuals representing childplacing and childcaring agenciesshallformulatethenecessaryguidelinestomaketheprovisionsofthisAct operative.

SEC.25.Appropriations.Suchsumasmaybenecessaryfortheimplementation oftheprovisionsofthisActshallbeincludedintheGeneralAppropriationsActofthe yearfollowingitsenactmentintolawandthereafter. SEC.26. RepealingClause.Anylaw,presidentialdecreeorissuance,executive order, letter of instruction, administrative order, rule or regulation contrary to, or inconsistentwiththeprovisionsofthisActisherebyrepealed,modified,oramended accordingly. SEC. 27. Separability Clause. If any provision of this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, the other provisions not affected thereby shall remain valid and subsisting. SEC.28. EffectivityClause.ThisActshalltakeeffectfifteen(15)daysfollowing its complete publication in any newspaper of general circulation or in the Official Gazette. Approved,

(Sgd.)JoseDeVenecia,Jr. Speakerofthe HouseofRepresentatives

(Sgd.)NeptaliA.Gonzales PresidentoftheSenate

ThisAct,whichisaconsolidationofSenateBillNo.1523andHouseBillNo.10378, wasfinallypassedbytheSenateandtheHouseofRepresentativesonFebruary13, 1998. (Sgd.)RobertoP.Nazareno SecretaryGeneral HouseofRepresentatives Approved:25February1998 (Sgd.)FidelV.Ramos PresidentofthePhilippines (Sgd.)HezelP.Gacutan SecretaryoftheSenate