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Bill providing more benefits to solo parents lapses into law

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Bill providing more benefits to solo parents lapses into law
RA 11861 amended RA 8972 or “An Act Providing for Benefits and Privileges to Solo Parents and Their Children.”
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Solo parents have been granted additional benefits as Republic Act 11861 or the “Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act” lapsed into law on June 4 without the signature of President Duterte.

RA 11861 amended RA 8972 or “An Act Providing for Benefits and Privileges to Solo Parents and Their Children.”

The new law expands the definition of “solo parents“ to include spouses or any family member of overseas Filipino workers who are in the low/semi-skilled category and are away from the Philippines for an uninterrupted period of 12 months.

The law also directs the Department of Social Welfare and Development to develop a “comprehensive package” of social protection services that includes temporary shelter, counseling, legal advice and assistance and medical care, among others.

Under RA 11861, solo parents who earn a minimum wage and below are entitled to a monthly cash subsidy of P1,000, while solo parents earning P250,000 annually are entitled to a 10-percent discount and exemption from the value-added tax on baby’s milk, food and micronutrient supplements, sanitary diapers, duly prescribed medicines, vaccines and other medical supplements from the birth of the child until six years of age.

The law also requires the prioritization of solo parents, particularly solo mothers, in re-entering the workforce, and their children in apprenticeships, scholarships, livelihood training and other poverty alleviation programs of the government.

It also grants solo parents a seven-day parental leave with pay regardless of employment status.

It also provides scholarship programs for solo parents and a full school scholarship for one child of a solo parent in institutions of basic, higher and technical/vocational skills education.

The law likewise provides automatic coverage under the National Health Insurance Program being administered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation with premium contributions to be paid by the national government.

Simplified adoption

Meanwhile, Sen. Grace Poe welcomed the final set of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act or the simplified adoption law (Republic Act 11642).

Poe graced the ceremonial signing of the IRR at the Manila Diamond Hotel on Tuesday, which coincides with the 40th day since her adoptive mother Susan Roces passed away on May 20.

“This is a milestone in our shared aspiration to ensure the best interest and future of our children,” said Poe, co-author and co-sponsor of the landmark law on childcare.

“By simplifying the process of adoption while according utmost protection for the child, we strengthen the ties that bind deserving parents and children longing for a home,” Poe added.

RA 11642 provides for simpler and inexpensive domestic administrative adoption proceedings and streamlines services for alternative childcare. –  Cecille Suerte Felipe

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