A recent study made by the World Health Organization shows that there are about 15 million solo parents in the Philippines. 95% of this number, or more than 14 million of whom are women.
Building a family is a huge responsibility that requires adequate preparation and planning. For solo parents, this task can seem even harder without a partner to share the load with.
Solo parents have to handle the different aspects of family life on their own. Among these are child-rearing, time management, and financial support.
In the Philippines, the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000 exists, which entitles solo parents to the following benefits:
- Livelihood skills trainings
- Counseling services
- Medical assistance
- Temporary shelters
- Flexible work schedule to be given by his/her employer
- Protection against work discrimination
- Parental leave of not more than 7 working days every year (in addition to leave privileges under existing laws), provided he/she has rendered service for at least 1 year
- Educational and housing benefits
- And others that you may read here to know more on the scope of the Solo Parents Welfare Act
With continuous inflations in the economy, budgeting finances becomes even tougher for solo parents. This is why additional benefits need to be included in the existing Solo Parents Welfare Act RA. No. 8972.
IMG Source: World Vision Philippines
In the year 2012, House Bill 6184 was approved by the House of Representatives, with the intention of amending RA. 8972 (see reference below).
It aims to integrate the following benefits to solo parents:
- 10% discount on children’s clothing for all purchases made within two years from the birth of the child
- 15% discount on baby’s milk and food supplements in the first two years of a child
- 15% discount on all purchases of medicine and other medical supplements or supplies
The bill also widens the scope of who is considered as a solo parent, namely:
- Single parent
- Single guardian
- Someone whose spouse is disabled and unable to work
Empathizing with Single Parents
Rep. Carol Lopez of YACAP (You Against Corruption and Poverty) Party-list is the principal author of House Bill 6184.
As a single parent herself, Cong. Lopez knows what it feels like to carry the not-so-simple task of building a home for your family alone.
“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”, Lopez said.
When asked why she created the bill, she said, “This is about providing necessary social and economic support to one of the most vulnerable sectors in our society. This is about creating necessary legal structure for empowerment. This is about investing for the future of the Filipino children. This is to ensure, no one is left behind.”
“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.
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.
The corporation or business establishment that gives a discount to the single parent need not worry as they shall be entitled to claim the discount given as business expenses subject to proper recording and recommendation.
Should the bill finally be signed into law, penalties will be observed to ensure that it is followed by business establishments, and not abused by consumers who are not legally qualified as single parents.
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.
And penalties to those who will pose as single parents to claim benefits:
- PHP10,000 to PHP50,000 fine and imprisonment of not less than six months
Cong. Carol Lopez has maintained her pro-active stance in pushing for House Bill 6184 to be signed into law for solo parents of the Philippines to have a leverage in ensuring a brighter future for their families.
Along with advocating for Solo Parents’ Rights, Cong. Lopez has also been working non-stop with the YACAP Party-list to create reformations in different sectors of their communities.
Among their advocacies, which mainly center on alleviating poverty, are providing free transportation; medical, dental and eye missions; relief operations; scholarship and educational programs, and many more since the year 2000.
To know more about Cong. Carol Lopez and the YACAP Party-list, read this article and take a look at how they have been transforming lives in the past two decades.