DSWD welcomes filing of bill amending Republic Act 8972 otherwise known as Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000

As the lead agency in social protection mandated to protect, serve and empower the disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) supports the filing today at 10:30 am of the bill amending R.A. 8972 in the House of Representatives.

Gabriela Party List Representatives Arlene D. Brosas and Emmi A. De Jesus introduced the bill, together with Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, AnakPawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, Alliance of Concerned Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, and KABATAAN Rep. Sarah Jane Elago.

The amended bill includes provisions proposed by the Federation of Solo Parents in LuzViMin-United Solo Parents of the Philippines (FSPL-USPP), the umbrella organization of 12 recognized solo parents organizations nationwide, including discounts to purchases of basic necessities, clothing, baby's milk, food and food supplements; medicines, vaccines, medical supplements; school tuition fees, hospital bills, consultation and laboratory diagnostic fees.

It also includes basic personal exemption from individual income tax, penalties for those who will violate the law, and strengthening of mechanisms for national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs) tasked to implement programs and services for solo parents and their children.

"Kailangan nating paigtingin at palawakin ang kampanya para sa adbokasiya at pagpapatupad ng mga kaukulang programa para sa mga solo parents o 'yung mga mag-isang nagpapalaki ng anak o mga anak (We need to intensify and broaden the advocacy campaign and implement appropriate programs for solo parents, those who are raising their child/children alone)," DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo stated.

"Nakikita natin na ang kasalukuyang batas, ang R.A. 8972 ay walang ngipin at hindi epektibo upang ganap na maipatupad ang mga probisyong nakapaloob dito, kaya't napapanahon na upang amendahan ito (We can see that the current law R.A. 8972 is toothless and ineffective in fully implementing the provisions integrated therein, so it is high time to have the law amended)," Sec. Taguiwalo emphasized.

In 2000, the Solo Parents' Welfare Act was passed into law, providing benefits for solo parents, recognizing that they singly bear parental burden and, as such, they have special needs that must be addressed by the state. They are among the vulnerable members of our society and their needs vary from psychological and emotional to financial.

The objective of enacting the Solo Parents' Welfare Act is to address the general welfare of the solo parents and their children by providing additional parental leaves and providing necessary flexible work arrangements for them.

However, many solo parents claimed that it failed to address their financial needs especially in light of increasing prices under steady wages.

It is also based on this current situation that the state should assist in rearing the children of solo parents, and intervene by providing necessary aid and relief to the solo parents. Most pressing is the need for the state to help enable the solo parents provide their children with quality education, adequate and proper health care services, affordable and quality food, clothing, and medicines.

Sec. Taguiwalo also encourages solo parents as stakeholders to actively lobby and advocate for the passing of the amended bill in Congress and Senate.

"Kayo (solo parents) bilang stakeholders ay nararapat na magsagawa ng mga malawakang pagkilos upang mabilis na maipasa ang panukalang batas sa Kongreso at Senado (You (solo parents) as stakeholders should conduct massive mass actions to expedite the speedy enactment of the proposed bill in Congress and Senate)," she stated.

Heeding her call, more than 100 solo parent employees from DSWD Central Office, as well as those from the six districts in Quezon City, who are members of FSPL-USPP and 4Ks Solo Association of Quezon City will converge in front of Congress this morning in a massive show of support for the filing of the amendments to R.A. 8972.

Source: Philippine Information Agency