15-M solo parents to enjoy expanded benefits – Gordon
About 15 million solo parents in our country will soon enjoy additional privileges and better government support once the measure expanding benefits to them and their families is finally passed into law, Senator Richard J. Gordon today said.
Gordon, principal author of Senate Bill (SB) 1411, or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Bill, said the measure, once enacted into law, provides solo parents with a comprehensive package of social development and welfare services.
“Napaka-timely ng batas na ito. It shows the mind of liberality we have, the society we have, the kind of caring, the kind of humanitarian sentiments we have for those who have been dealt a wrong set of cards or have become widowed,” he said.
“Ang Senado ng Pilipinas, ang Kongreso ng Pilipinas ay hindi insensitive at handang tumulong at napakalaking bagay sa mga anak ng solo parent sapagkat sila ay lalaki nang may suporta, may konting ayuda at konting recognition,” he added.
According to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) study, the country has about 15 million solo parents, 95 percent or more than 14 million of whom are women.
SB 1411 seeks to strengthen the 21-year-old RA 8972, also known as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act by adding additional benefits to solo parents and their families and expanding the scope of applicability of the specific benefits due them.
Once the bill is signed into law, solo parents would be able to enjoy a 20% discount in tuition fees, hospital bills, and medicines.
Under the bill, solo parents who are below the poverty threshold would receive additional financial assistance PhP1,000 and a comprehensive package of social protection services, such as livelihood, counselling, legal services, among others.
They shall not be discriminated in terms of conditions of their employment, including allowing them to work from home. They shall also have access to child care, parental leave, housing and educational benefits.
“Most of the time, solo parents are stigmatized. They have made an error in decision or maybe an error in judgment but certainly that is life,” Gordon said his manifestation at the Senate plenary floor.
“When one must face up to life, ‘yung mga challenges ng kakulangan ng isang single na magulang para mapalaki ang mga anak. Bukod sa stigmatization, ‘yung economic challenges, challenge ng emotional support, ‘yun ang hinaharap natin ng mga kabataan,” he added.
Solo parents are defined as females who have given birth as a result of rape; parents left solo or alone due to circumstances such as incarceration, physical and mental incapacity, legal separation and abandonment.
Also included are any other person who bears sole parental responsibility over a child or children, including a foster parent duly recognized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.