Manila: The government has warned Filipino women against selling their babies for profit as reports said there had been several incidents when infants are being offered to childless couples without undergoing legal adoption procedures.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman said women, no matter how poor, should not resort to selling their babies as they risk being charged with violations of the law on Domestic Adoption, Republic Act 8552.

“We should be alarmed by reports of babies being sold. This is also a form of birth simulation which evades the legal adoption process thereby violating RA 8552, an Act establishing the rules and policies on the domestic adoption of Filipino children,” Soliman said.

Earlier, local television aired reports that some poor women are selling their babies for profit.

A report by the GMA Television Network said that the sale of infants are so prevalent, especially in poor communities, that it had already brought about an underground trade.

Some infants are even being kidnapped in the hospitals and sold to baby traffickers who make a profit from the sale. There had been cases of infants being sold to foreigners.

According to Soliman, there are existing cases of poor pregnant women who are unable to raise their babies and would offer them to childless couples to illegally adopt in exchange for a certain amount. She said that any person who tampers the birth registration of a child or any physician, nurse, or health personnel who will collaborate in such an illegal act shall be guilty of “birth simulation”.

Local laws define birth simulation as the tampering of the civil registry to make it appear in the birth records that a certain child was born to a person who is not his or her biological mother, causing the child to lose his or her true identity and status. It is punishable by imprisonment in its medium period and a fine not exceeding 50,000 peso (Dh4,519)

Soliman appealed to mothers who are unable to raise their babies to surrender them to the DSWD where they can be placed out for temporary placement through foster care or permanent placement through legal adoption.