International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Philippines

Philippines
Republic of the Philippines
Exercise increased caution in the Philippines due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and a measles outbreak. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Exercise increased caution in the Philippines due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and a measles outbreak.  Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.    

Do not travel to:

  • The Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.
  • Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.

Reconsider travel to:

  • Other areas of Mindanao due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.

Terrorist and armed groups continue plotting possible kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in the Philippines.  Terrorist and armed groups may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.  The Philippine government has declared a “State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao.”

There is an outbreak of measles in the Philippines.  Philippine authorities have reported deaths in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Davao.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has additional information on the outbreak at:  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/measles-philippines.    

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to the Philippines:

The Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea

Terrorist and armed groups kidnap U.S. citizens on land and at sea for ransom.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to those areas.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Marawi City in Mindanao

The Philippine government has declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region.  Civilians are at risk of death or injury due to conflict between remnants of terrorist groups and Philippine security forces in Marawi.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Mindanao as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Mindanao

The Philippine government has declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region.  The Philippine government also maintains a state of emergency and greater police presence in the Cotabato City area, and in the Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Terrorist and armed groups continue to conduct kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks targeting U.S. citizens, foreigners, civilians, local government institutions, and security forces.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Mindanao as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

... [READ MORE]
Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
ALL /
ALL /
Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Manila

1201 Roxas Boulevard
Manila, Philippines 1000
Telephone:
+(63)(2) 301-2000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(63)(2) 301-2000 x0
Fax: (63) (2) 301-2017
Email: 

Consulates

U.S. Consular Agency - Cebu City
Ground Level, Waterfront Hotel
Salinas Drive
Lahug, Cebu City
Philippines 6000
Telephone:
(63)(32) 231-1261
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Manila: +(63)(2) 301-2000 x0
Fax: +(63) (32) 231-0174
Email: ACSInfoCebu@state.gov

General Information

For information concerning travel to the Philippines, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information on the Philippines.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

Hague Abduction Convention

The Philippines acceded to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) on March 16, 2016; however, the United States and the Philippines are not yet treaty partners. Until the Philippines and the United States establish a treaty relationship per Article 38 of the Convention, parents whose children have been abducted from the United States to the Philippines or wrongfully retained in the Philippines are unable to invoke the Convention to pursue their children's return or to seek access to them.

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  The Family Code of the Philippines is available here. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in the Philippines and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Website

Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in the Philippines.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in the Philippines and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.   Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the Philippines for information and possible assistance

Retaining an Attorney

The Philippine Mediation Center and the Philippine Judicial Academy function as the primary mediation institutions for cases that a court refers for mediation.  Only cases that are already in the judicial system are eligible for this service.  Parents can obtain more information here and here.  Outside of the courts, the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development may be able to provide assistance.  Parents can obtain more information here

Mediation

The Philippine Mediation Center and the Philippine Judicial Academy function as the primary mediation institutions for cases that a court refers for mediation. Only cases that are already in the judicial system are eligible for this service. Parents can obtain more information here and here. Outside of the courts, the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development may be able to provide assistance. Parents can obtain more information here

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: June 1, 2015

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Manila
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Manila, Philippines 1000
Telephone
+(63)(2) 301-2000
Emergency
+(63)(2) 301-2000 x0
Fax
+(63)(2) 301-2017
Philippines Map