KIDAPAWAN CITY, Feb. 9 — The Department of Social Welfare and Development urged the public to help in their campaign to stop illegal adoption practices as they will hold a weeklong observance of Adoption Consciousness Celebration  this month in Central Mindanao.

Juliet Clavel, DSWD 12 head of adoption and foster care, said Friday separate celebrations will be held along with their partners in the cities of Koronadal, General Santos, Tacurong, Cotabato and Kidapawan from February 20.

Clavel said the activity highlights the theme, “Pagmamahal Palaganapin, Legal na Pag-aampon Ating Gawin! (Spread Unconditional Love through Legal Adoption),” which reiterates the call to ensure that orphaned, neglected, abandoned, and surrendered children are provided with the secure, permanent and loving homes which they deserve.

“We will be putting up help desk in shopping malls in the region to respond to queries about legal process of adoption,” she said.

Citing its similar to child trafficking, Bai Zorahayda T. Taha, DSWD regional director, appealed to public to help them in their campaign to end illegal adoption cases in the region by reporting to them.

In Manila, DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco said the heart of adoption is the aspiration to build homes  filled with happiness, security, respect and unconditional love between people who are unrelated by blood.

“Tampering with the civil registry of children is a criminal offense that has great repercussions; for instance, children whose civil registration status have been tampered with are deprived of their rights to know their real identity,” Leyco said.

“It is the duty of those of us in government to ensure sure that the rights of children are upheld and protected. We urge our partners to help protect the credibility, security, and efficiency of the legal adoption process so that prospective adoptive parents will go through the legal process of adoption and be discouraged against undergoing birth simulation,” he added.

Under the law, simulation of birth and tampering with the civil registry of a child is a criminal offense that may lead to six years and one day to 12 years imprisonment, and/or a fine not exceeding P50,000.

“There are still many children who are still waiting for their forever homes and we urge families to open their lives and spread unconditional love for them through the legal process of adoption,” Leyco said. (JBM/DSWD)