July 16, 2019
Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go wants to provide additional benefits and privileges to some 14 million solo parents to help them ease the burden of single-handedly raising their children.
The senator filed Senate Bill (SB) 206, which aims to amend Republic Act (RA) 8972 or the “Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000.” He said duly recognized foster parents would benefit from the measure.
Go lamented that the benefits and privileges granted by the existing law “are not sufficient to provide for the needs of the single parents who are both the breadwinner and the caregiver of the family.”
SB 206 seeks to grant solo parents additional special discounts on purchases such as 10 percent for clothes for babies up to 2 years old, 15 percent for milk and food up to 2 years old, and 15 percent for medicine.
Children of solo parents will also enjoy a 10-percent tuition discount in public and private schools from Grade 1 to college and 20 percent discount for school supplies until 21 years old.
To enjoy these benefits, solo parents have to apply for a Solo Parent Identification Card from the local Social Welfare and Development Office and present it to the companies and establishments where the discounted purchases are made.
“I am pushing for this amendment to the existing law to cater to as many solo parents as possible, to help them build a stronger family despite their situation, and to support them as productive members of society,” Go said.
Employment benefits are also included in the bill. Under RA 8972, a solo parent employee, who had rendered at least one year of service, should be granted parental leave of not more than seven working days.
Go’s bill lowers the required length of service to six months and specifies that the leave should be granted “with pay.”
SB 206 carries a P200,000-fine or imprisonment of up to two years on “any person, corporation, entity or agency, which refuses or fails to provide the benefits granted to solo parents.”
A solo parent is someone left alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage, or if he or she was left alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to abandonment of spouse for at least six months.
SB 206 also states that an unmarried mother or father, who preferred to keep and rear his or her child or children is considered a solo parent.
Likewise, any family member is considered a solo parent if he or she “assumes the responsibility as the head of the family resulting from the death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents.”
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