President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law recognizing abandoned children found in the country or in Philippine embassies and consulates abroad, also known as foundlings, as natural-born Filipinos.
Under Republic Act 11767 or the Foundling Recognition and Protection Act, an abandoned child found in the Philippines or in Philippine embassies, consulates, and territories abroad is presumed a natural-born Filipino citizen, regardless of the status or circumstances of birth.
“As a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a foundling is accorded with rights and protections at the moment of birth equivalent to those belonging to such class of citizens whose citizenship does not need perfection or any further act,” according to RA 11767 signed by Duterte on May 6.
Duterte also signed another law extending up to 10 years the validity period of the license to possess and register firearms by qualified individuals, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Republic Act 11766 amended RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, and now gives the licensee the option to renew their permit to own guns every 5 years or 10 years, “regardless” of the gun’s type or classification.
Meanwhile, Financial consumers will now have more protection against cybercrime under a new law signed by Duterte.
Republic Act No. 11765 or the “Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act”, signed by Duterte on May 6, recognizes that the state must implement measures to protect consumers rights’ such as right to equitable and fair treatment; right to disclosure and transparency of financial products and services; right to protection of consumer assets against fraud and misuse; right to data privacy and protection; and right to timely handling and redress of complaints.
The President also signed an executive order bringing back the National Irrigation Administration under the control of the Department of Agriculture.
Duterte signed EO 168 on April 25, transferring the NIA from the Office of the President to the DA.
“Due to the effects of climate change and the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, which significantly affected the state of food security in the Philippines, there is a need to optimize the country’s water resources to adapt to these challenges and pave the way for the modernization and industrialization of the agricultural sector,” the EO read.
The EO also emphasizes the need to integrate relevant agencies such as the NIA in the agricultural sector “in the fulfillment of their complementary governmental mandates.”
The presumption of natural-born status of a foundling may not be impugned in any proceeding unless substantial proof of foreign parentage is shown.
The law also ensures that a certificate of live birth will be issued without delay and that the foundling has the right to access all the documentary requirements submitted for registration.
It also exempts parents who relinquish an infant 30 days old and younger to “safe haven” providers from criminal liability.
Safe haven providers include licensed child-caring or -placing agencies, churches, Department of Health-accredited health facilities, local social welfare and development offices, and Department of Social Welfare and Development- or local government unit-managed residential care facilities.
“In the event that the biological parents cannot be identified and located, the foundling shall be declared legally available for adoption, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations and taking into consideration the best interest of the child,” RA 11767 said.
Once the adoption is finalized, the adopted foundling shall be considered the legitimate child of the adopter for all intents and purposes.
The adopted foundling, according to RA 11767, is also entitled to the rights and obligations provided by law to legitimate children born to them without discrimination of any kind.
On the firearms law, individuals must have these “reckoned with” on or before their birthdate, according to the law, which was signed May 6 but only made public Tuesday.
Previously, the government mandated the renewal of licenses to own and possess a firearm every 2 years, while registration of the firearm was renewed every 4 years.
“Failure to renew the registration of the firearm on or before the date of expiration shall cause the revocation of the license of the firearm,” the law read.
For financial consumers, “It is the policy of the state to ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to protect the interest of consumers of financial products and services under the conditions of transparency, fair, and sound market conduct, and fair, reasonable, and effective handling of financial consumer disputes, which are aligned with global best practices,” the law read.
These mechanisms reinforce their confidence in the financial market and foster the stability of the Philippine financial system.
RA 11765 gives financial regulators authority to formulate their own standards and rules of business conduct for financial entities.
Under EO 168, the Governance Commission for the Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations is directed to study the reorganization of the NIA Board of Directors.
The GCG is also mandated to submit to the OP, through the Executive Secretary, its recommendation on the reorganization of the NIA board members.