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House OKs bill granting benefits to solo parents

- Paolo Romero -

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the Solo Parent Welfare Act, which seeks to provide relief to single parents by providing discounts and benefits.

Principally authored by You Against Poverty and Corruption (YACAP) party-list Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez, House Bill 6184 aims to grant single parents, guardians or foster parents wide ranging benefits because of their huge responsibility.

Other authors include Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado Arroyo, Malabon Rep. Jaye Lacson-Noel, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, DIWA party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Lopez said the bill would help at least 14 million single parents nationwide especially during hard times, as they are also considered among “the most vulnerable members of society.”

“Being a solo parent doubles the responsibility of raising a child and it makes both solo parents and their children vulnerable to all of life’s hardships. As members of society’s vulnerable protection groups, solo parents need all the help they can get from the government,” she said.

Among the benefits provided for single parents include housing, comprehensive package, parental leave, educational benefits or scholarships, and others.

Lopez likewise enumerated the additional discounts to be given to single parents such as 10 percent discount on children’s clothing materials for all purchases made within two years from the birth of the child, 15 percent discount on baby’s milk and food supplement in the first two years of a child, 15 percent discount on all purchases of medicine and other medical supplements or supplies.

To avail of these benefits, the single parent shall submit or present the solo parent identification card and the birth certificate of the child or other evidence of entitlement.

Under the measure, the corporation or business establishment that gives a discount to the single parent shall be entitled to claim the discount given as business expenses subject to proper recording and recommendation.

The bill provides penalties to those who fail to give discounts, like P10,000 to P50,000 fine and imprisonment of not less than six months to one year.

For subsequent violations, a fine of P100,000 to P200,000 will be imposed and imprisonment of not less than one year.

Based on the World Health Organization-funded study conducted by the Department of Health (DOH) and the University of the Philippines-National Institute for Health (UP-NIH), single parents constitute about 14 to 15 percent of the estimated 94 million Filipinos.

The bill amends Republic Act 8972 or the Solo Parent’s Welfare Act of 2000.

According to the bill, the term solo parent should now apply to “parent left solo or alone.”

“The changing times and the growing number of solo parents calls for a more pro-active and substantial help from the state for one of society’s most vulnerable groups – the solo parents and their infants,” Lopez said.

CAMARINES SUR REP

CAROL JAYNE LOPEZ

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

DIOSDADO ARROYO

EMMELINE AGLIPAY AND LEYTE REP

FERDINAND MARTIN ROMUALDEZ

LOPEZ

PARENT

PARENTS

SINGLE

SOLO

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