Senate approves Solo Parents Act

Senate approves Solo Parents Act

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — On Monday, the Senate approved the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act on third and final reading.

It amends Republic Act No. 8972, An Act Providing for Benefits and Privileges to Solo Parents and the Children, to improve government services for solo parents.

“I thank and congratulate Sen. Risa Hontiveros for her efforts behind this, as sponsor of the bill. We’re really very excited that this is going forward,” said Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, co-author, and co-sponsor of the bill.

“We have about fifteen million solo-parent families here in the Philippines, and we need to make sure that they are receiving the help that they require in raising healthy, educated children with happy home lives,” he said. “Parenthood is hard enough with a supportive partner—lalo na para sa solo parents, na nagsasabay-sabay ng maraming trabaho para makapaglagay ng pagkain sa lamesa at makapagpaaral ng kanilang mga anak. All while also trying to find time to be present and engaged in their children’s lives.

The Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act establishes that all solo parents shall benefit from the Comprehensive Package of Social Protection Services, inclusive of livelihood opportunities, legal advice and assistance, and counseling, among others. Additional financial assistance shall also be made available for poor and indigent solo parents.

The bill also strengthens the workplace rights and benefits of solo parents, including a shortened requirement of rendered service to avail of parental leave, and a mandate for large companies and government offices to provide daycare centers within the workplace.

A Solo Parent Identification Card (SPIC) is also established in the bill, along with additional benefits such as a 20 percent discount for infant formula, diapers, medicines, vaccines, medical equipment, food supplements, and other basic necessities. Solo parents will also enjoy a 20 percent discount on hospital bills and school tuition fees for their children.

“We are also suggesting a basic personal tax exemption of Php50,000.00 for solo parents, para maidagdag ito ng mga solo parents sa mga gastusin nila sa bahay, lalo na kung marami silang anak,” Zubiri added.

Additionally, the bill establishes a Solo Parents Affairs Office in every local government unit, to provide immediate assistance and accessible services to solo parents all over the country.

“Ginawa nating exhaustive ang coverage nito, dahil kinikilala natin ang responsibilidad ng gobyerno na maging partner ng mga solo parents sa pagpapalaki ng kanilang mga anak. So we’re really looking forward to it finally becoming law.” (ai/mtvn)

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