More than 500 solo parents and their children joined the first Solo Parents Day celebration dubbed as “Handog ng DSWD Para sa Mga Solo Parents” held at the Central Office, Batasan Hills, Quezon City over the weekend.

To ensure the success of the milestone event, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) partnered with other national government agencies namely the Department of Health through the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC), Public Attorney’s Office (PAO),  Department of Labor through its Quezon City Field Office (DOLE-QCFO) and Technical Education Skills Development Authority  (TESDA) in providing free services, such as medical, legal, jobs fair, and wellness services.

DSWD Undersecretary Ma. Lourdes Turalde-Jarabe welcomed the solo parents during the morning activity.

Nagagalak kami at nagkaroon ng pagkakataong maimbitahan kayong lahat  dito sa Central Office upang makiisa sa pagdiriwang ng Solo Parents Day (We are happy to have this opportunity to invite you all here at the Central office to join our Solo Parents Day celebration).”

The Department also partnered with the Federation of Solo Parents Luzvimin-United Solo Parents of the Philippines (FSPL-USPP), which tapped the support of the Quezon City local government unit through the office of Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte. The QC LGU provided additional massage therapists and other wellness practitioners.

The Information/Serbisyo Caravan spearheaded by DSWD also brought in counselors and psychology students who provided free counseling services. As it turned out, this was the most sought-after service judging from the long line of solo parents who wanted to avail of counseling and psychological testing.

According to Carrie Javier, president of FSPL- USPP, the numerous challenges of solo parenthood inflict heavy mental and emotional toll on the single parent, hence, there is really an urgent need for regular counseling and psychological therapy.

Huwag po nating isipin na porke’t kumunsulta tayo sa isang psychologist o psychiatrist e may diperensya na ang ating utak. Kailangan nating panatilihing malusog hindi lamang ang ating pangangatawan, kundi maging ang ating mental at emosyonal na katayuan upang maging mas magampanan natin ang ating mga responsibilidad bilang solong magulang sa ating mga anak (Let us not think that just because we consulted a psychologist or psychiatrist, there is something wrong with our brain or mind.  Along with maintaining our physical health, we must also take care of our mental and emotional well-being so we can better perform our responsibilities as solo parents to our children).”

Meanwhile, during the Forum, “Alamin ang Inyung mga Karapatan sa Ilalim ng RA 8972,” (Know Your Rights Under RA 8972), DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo in her welcome message emphasized the need to further advocate the rights and welfare of solo parents.

Mahirap magpalaki ng anak na doble o dalawa kayo, mas mahirap kung ikaw ay solo kaya’t kailangang isulong pa natin ang kagalingan at karapatan ng mga solo parents (Raising children is difficult for both parents, more so if you are a solo parent, so we need to intensify our advocacy to promote the rights and welfare of solo parents).”

Resource speakers from the Commission on Higher Education  (CHED) and National Housing Authority (NHA) presented their scholarship programs and policies which apply not only to solo parents, but to all vulnerable sectors.

Meanwhile, from the academe, Professor Nina Era and Dr. Geraldine Sayo discussed Self-Care for Solo Parents and Understanding Depression, respectively.

Activities for children of solo parents, such as story-telling, games and drawing were also held while their parents are attending the forum and program.

The whole day event was capped by the performances of some FSPL-USPP member organizations dubbed as Showcase of Talents, followed by a candle lighting ceremony led by Gabriela NCR in support of our countrymen who are affected by the on-going armed conflict in Marawi City.###