MANILA— Agusan del Norte 1st District Rep. Lawrence Fortun is seeking free delayed registration of birth at the local government level.
"Child rights advocates have identified that 7.5 million Filipinos do not have birth certificates that supposedly fundamental and indispensable document that establishes our identity, our nationality and citizenship... Of the 7.5 million Filipinos unregistered, about half of that are children," Fortun, author of House Bill 104, said in his privilege speech Monday.
Fortun and other members of Congress spoke in plenary session to push for more aggressive implementation of programs to advance the rights of children.
November is National Children's Month. The country is also marking the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
"Nakasaad sa UNCRC na karapatan ng isang bata na mairehistro pagkapanganak at karapatan din niya, mula sa pagkapanganak, na magkaroon ng pangalan at nasyonalidad," Fortun said.
"Ika nga ng isang kaibigan ko, mabuti pa 'yong aso, may papeles at rehistrado sa PCCI (Philippine Canine Club Inc)," he said.
He also recalled an occasion when he did pro-bono outreach work as a lawyer.
"Kami po ay nagulat at nalungkot na marami sa kanila, hindi lang mga bata ang hindi nakarehistro. Marami sa kanila ay buong pamilya, mula sa lolo, lola, tatay, nanay at mga anak, ang walang birth certificates—deprived of their fundamental right to identity and nationality," Fortun said.