On the occasion of the 18th year anniversary of the enactment into law of RA 8972 or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), is reiterating its call to legislators to facilitate the passage of the amendment which seeks to grant additional benefits to an estimated 15 million solo parents nationwide.
The amendments to RA 8972 is one of the priority legislative measures being advocated by the Department.
In its position paper submitted to the House of Representatives Committee on Revision of Laws, the Department stated some recommendations which include decrease of waiting period from one year to six months before a solo parent may be allowed to avail of the benefits provided for in the law, and this should be without prejudice to the solo parent and his/her availment of other programs and services from the concerned government agencies.
The DSWD also recommends that since solo parents are bound by the reality to solely raise and care for a family, counseling, crisis management, stress debriefing, and legal services, among others, be made available to all solo parents regardless of economic status.
To drumbeat the need to amend the law, the Department, in coordination with the Federation of Solo Parents Luzvimin, the umbrella organization of 20 solo parent associations nationwide, will conduct an awareness event dubbed as, “18 Years Old na ang RA 8972, Kumusta na mga Solo Parents” on November 10 at the DSWD Central Office, to be attended by an estimated 200 solo parent leaders, advocates and representatives of different government agencies and local government units.
The one-day national event also aims to provide a venue for local implementers, solo parent leaders/ advocates and stakeholders to engage in interactive discussion on the issues and concerns affecting the sector, and come up with a concrete plan of action in advocating the amendments.
DSWD Undersecretary Luzviminda Ilagan, adviser of the DSWD Central Office Solo Parents – Employees Organization (DSWD CO – SPEO) expounded, “It is difficult enough to be a parent even with a partner, what more if you are raising a child or several children alone, coping with the challenges of providing for the physical, financial, and psychological well-being of the child.”
“Those who have less in life should have more in law, and that is why, we, in the various chapters and federations of solo parents would like to see the bills in Congress passed. These bills which are intended to provide assistance and support to solo parents should be passed as soon as possible,” Usec Ilagan emphasized.
The DSWD official also posed a challenge to the leaders of various solo parent organizations, “Organizing our groups is very important so the voice of solo parents must be heard. We must lobby so our legislators would move fast. For many decades, we have been struggling to have these bills passed so that a very important sector of our society, the solo parents, would be provided with much-needed assistance.”
“Let us all move together and organize, so that when the bills are finally passed, then we can say this is the result of the efforts of all solo parents in the country, who have only one intention, and that is to provide for the well-being of their children so they could be productive members of our society,” Usec Ilagan stated.
Meanwhile, FSPL and DSWD CO- SPEO president Carina Javier said that there are currently 18 bills filed in Congress, and five bills in the Senate seeking to amend RA 8972.
Among the amendments being lobbied by FSPL and other solo parent organizations are the following:
- 20% discount from all purchases of clothing and clothing material for the child for purchases made from child’s birth until 12 years of age;
- 20% discount from all purchases of baby’s milk, food, food supplements and sanitary diapers for purchases made from the child’s birth until three (3) years of age;
- 20% discount from all purchases of medicines, vaccines and other medical supplement, supplies, accessories and equipment for the child, for purchases made from the child’s birth until eighteen (18) years of age;
- 20% discount from all purchases of the child’s basic necessities;
- 20% discount from all purchases of school supplies for the child, for purchases made from the child’s birth until twenty-one (21) years of age;
- 20% discount from tuition fees per child who are in the college level in both private and public colleges and universities and schools, on top of any scholarship grants, if any;
- 20% discount from hospital bill of the solo parent or his/her child if admitted for medical care and attention, both in private and public hospitals;
- Tax amnesty and/or reduction of real estate or inheritance taxes of solo parents;
- 20% discount on consultation and laboratory diagnostic fees and purchase of medicines for solo parents and their dependents;
- Basic personal exemption from individual income tax in the amount of fifty thousand pesos (Php 50,000.00) in addition to the existing exemption that solo parents may claim for their children;
- At least 20% discount from all private and public recreational facilities provided that the discount can only be availed when the solo parent and children are together;
- Availment of seven-day parental leave with pay for solo parents in the private or government sector who have rendered at least six (6) months of service regardless of employment status; and,
- Reduction of waiting period to avail of the Solo Parent Identification Card from one year to six months. ###