Professor Aguiling-Pangalangan presents at the HCCH Access to Justice Conference

Professor Aguiling-Pangalangan presents Regional and Philippine Perspectives on the 1993 Adoption Convention at the HCCH Access to Justice Conference

On 14 September 2023, Professor Elizabeth H. Aguiling-Pangalangan took part in the Hague Conference on Private International Law’s (HCCH) Asia Pacific Week (APW) 2023 held at the Hong Kong University on 11-14 September 2023. She presented an overview of the implementation and enforcement of the 1993 Adoption Convention in four Southeast Asian countries, with a specific focus on the Philippines. The HCCH celebrated its 130th Anniversary during the Asia Pacific Week with the theme “Access to Justice and Sustainable Development: The Impact of the HCCH in an Inter-Connected World.”

In her lecture, Professor Aguiling-Pangalangan highlighted the importance of increasing the participation and involvement of Asian Countries in the 1993 Adoption Convention due to their having the highest number of intercountry adoption cases in the world. She likewise provided an overview of the challenges related to intercountry adoption in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines, and how their respective governments are trying to overcome these challenges. She emphasized the need to review the provisions and underlying principles of the 1993 Adoption Convention to address and solve these problems.

Professor Aguiling-Pangalangan paid specific attention to the Philippines and the three major issues it faces regarding intercountry adoption, namely: (1) the lengthiness of the adoption process; (2) having unaccredited agencies participating in Intercountry Adoption; and (3) the proliferation of babies being sold online. She outlined the existing legal framework of the Philippines, established in the Constitution, statute laws, and international law, that addresses these challenges while prioritizing the best interest of the child.

In concluding her lecture, Professor Aguiling-Pangalangan underscored the declining trend of Intercountry Adoption and the special needs that are associated with internationally adopted children. On one hand, the decline could indicate a decrease in child abandonment. On the other, it may be due to the misconceptions about adoption; its complexity and costliness; and in extreme cases, fraud and corruption. She emphasized the need to review the provisions and underlying principles of the 1993 Adoption Convention to address and solve these problems.

The HCCH Conference is an international event attended by various private international law practitioners, academics, and experts. It consists of fifteen sessions covering specific Hague Conventions. The Philippines was ably represented in this year’s APW by the Judicial and Executive branches of government. Hon. Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines presented the Philippine perspective on the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, while Hon. Justice Angelene Mary W. Quimpo-Sale, Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals of the Philippines gave a lecture on the Philippine experience in the implementation and enforcement of the 2007 Child Support Convention. Likewise, Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva spoke on the Philippine implementation of the 1965 Service Convention and Director Dyan Miranda-Pastrana of the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Consular Affairs discussed the 1961 Apostille Convention.

For those who were not able to watch Day 4 of the 2023 HCCH Asia Pacific Week, a recording of the Convention can be accessed through this link.