Expanding the benefits of solo parents

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT and benefits will be extended to solo parents once this proposed bill in Congress is enacted into law. House Bill 7237 authored by Rep. Evelina Escudero (1st district, Sorsogon) intends to amend Republic Act 8972 otherwise known as the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000 by extending further the assistance such as but not limited to discounts from purchases of baby’s milk, food and food supplements, clothing and medical supplies.

Escudero stressed that this bill will not only lessen the burden of solo parenting but to ensure as well their children are given the opportunity for a better future.  She added this proposal may have its effects on businesses, employment and other economic activities, nonetheless it is still worthy of submission for evaluation and deliberation as all stakeholders may be able to strike a balance between profitability and social responsibility.

A solo parent is left alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to the involuntary inability of the other spouse to have employment for at least a year.

A change in the status of circumstance of the parent claiming benefits under this bill, such that he/she is no longer left alone with the sole responsibility of parenthood, shall terminate his/her eligibility for these benefits.  Said benefits shall cease to be available by the end of the year when the parent was last deemed a solo parent provided that a single parent who is receiving support from the child’s other parent shall not be eligible to receive the benefits.

In addition to leave privileges under existing laws, parental leave of not more than seven working days with pay every year shall be granted to all solo parent employees who have rendered service for at least a year.

In addition to the foregoing benefits, solo parents who have been qualified as such by the DSWD shall likewise be entitled to 10 percent discount from all purchases of clothing and clothing materials for the child made within a period of up to two years from the child’s birth; 15 percent discount from all purchases of baby’s milk, food and food supplements made within a period of two years from the child’s birth; and 15 percent discount from all purchases of medicines and other medical supplements and supplies for the child made within a period of five years from the child’s birth.

All solo parents shall be entitled to the issuance of solo parent ID by the municipal or city social welfare office.

There are additional penal provisions for violators of this bill if passed into law.  Any employer who fails to provide the benefits mentioned shall suffer the following penalty: 1) Fine of not less than Php 10,000 but not exceeding Php 50,000 or imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than a year or both at the discretion of the court; 2) For any subsequent violation, a fine of not less than Php 100,000 but not exceeding Php 200,000 or imprisonment for not less than a year but not more than two years or both at the discretion of the court; 3) Any person who abuses the privileges shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than six months or a fine of not less than Php 5,000 but not more than Php 50,000 or both at the discretion of the court; 4) If violator is a corporation, organization or any similar entity, the officials and employees thereof directly involved shall be individually liable; 5) If violator is an alien or a foreigner, he/she shall be deported immediately after service of sentence without further deportation proceedings.

Upon filing of an appropriate complaint, and after due notice and hearing, the proper authorities may also cause the revocation or cancellation of the business permit, permit to operate, franchise, and other similar privileges granted to any business that fails to abide by the provisions of this proposed measure.In 2015, the Philippine Statistics Authority estimated about three million household heads without a spouse — two million of whom were female.

The Federation of Solo Parents has a member base of 80,000.A new Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories shows that the United States of America has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households. Finland is the No.1 best place in the world to be a solo mother.

Moms in this Scandinavian nation get 105 days of maternity leave and are paid 70 percent of their salary while they stay home. Next are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Iceland, Spain and Germany.

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