(PN file photo)

Members of the LGBTQ+ community can adopt children as a single applicant, as clarified by representatives of the National Authority for Child Care (NACC) and the Regional Alternative Child Care Office (RAACO) in Mimaropa during an online forum on June 10.

NACC’s Domestic Adoption Division (DAD) chief, Imelda Ronda, stated during RAACO Mimaropa’s Media Forum on Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care that there was no discrimination regarding the prospective adoptive parent (PAP) gender or sexual identity/expression, as it did not affect their fitness for child care.

Ronda explained that there were other legal guidelines to declare a person as being “fit” to become a PAP, as outlined in the Republic Act 11642 or the Domestic Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act of 2022.

Eligibility for PAPs under Section 21 of the Child Care Act includes, but is not limited to: any Filipino resident at least 25 years of age with full legal capacity and without former conviction, while being emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children.

“Wala tayong discrimination sa kasarian, relihiyon, o sa anumang miyembro yung ating gustong mag-adopt. (…) Hindi naman tinitingnan sa assessment kung saang community tayo nabibilang, kundi ang capacity and capability to provide for the needs of the child. (…) Hindi lang sa pag-adopt kundi pati na rin ang pag-foster,” she said.

However, she stated that LGBTQ+ couples may adopt only as a single applicant. Those who are living with their partners will have to apply as such, and the other partner will be assessed as another resident of the household during the initial case study assessment conducted by the social worker.

This was a limitation imposed by the Philippines’ own Family Code, which only legitimizes marriages between a man and a woman. Ronda explained that although some same-sex couples were married abroad, their legal marriages were still not recognized in the country.

“Kasi ang miyembro ng pamilya or makakasalamuha sa tahanan ay makakasama din every day at magkakaroon ng impluwensiya doon sa bata,” Ronda said, referring to the six-month supervised trial period where the child legally available for adoption is placed with a PAP for six months to ensure compatibility and capability.

NACC and RAACO Mimaropa will hold more events for Adoption and Alternative Child Care Week, including a mall show on June 15 at 1:00-5:00 p.m. at SM City Puerto Princesa, where those who want to find out more about the Philippine adoption process can approach their help desk.