Bill seeks added benefits for single parents

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

A MEASURE seeking additional benefits for single parents has been filed in the House of Representatives.

House Bill 2658 authored by Camarines Representative Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo and his mother Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expands the coverage and gives additional benefits to solo parents under the "Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000."

"Our proposed amendments to RA 8972 would expand the present coverage and benefits given to solo parents and make sure that the law's lofty objectives are attained," the younger Arroyo said.


The current law, he noted, breathed life to the Constitution's mandate that the "State shall promote the family as the foundation of the nation, strengthen its solidarity and ensure its total development."

"RA 8972 was enacted to provide benefits and privileges to solo parents and their children in recognition of the efforts and sacrifices that solo parents must endure in raising and rearing their children," the authors added.

In an effort to strengthen the existing law, the bill proposes the reduction of the waiting period from one year to six months for a person can be qualified as a solo parent.

In particular, the bill also provides the following additional provisions:

"Section 13. Solo Parent Identification Card (SPIC) -- Upon application and submission of proper documents, an identification card approved by
the local chief executive where the solo parent resides, shall be issued to the qualified solo parent by the city or municipal social welfare and development officer."

"Section 14. Additional Benefits -- A solo parent shall be entitled to the following additional benefits: (a) Ten percent (10%) discount on children's clothing materials for all purchases made within two (2) years from birth of the child of the solo parent; (b) Fifteen percent (15%) discount on baby's milk, food and food supplements for all purchases made within two (2) years from the birth of the child of the solo parent; (c) fifteen percent (15%) discount on all purchases of the solo parent of medicines and other medical supplements or supplies that shall be used by the child who are five (5) years old and below.

To avail of the said benefits, the solo parent shall submit or present the SPIC and birth certificate of the child or other evidence of entitlement.

Arroyo said, adding that the corporation or business establishment that gives a discount to the solo parent in accordance with proposed amendments shall be entitled to claim the discount given as a business expense subject to proper recording and documentation.

The bill, likewise, provides for the establishment of an "Inter-agency Coordinating and Monitoring Committee" to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the proposed Act. The committee shall be constituted within 90 days upon effectivity of the Act to be headed by the DSWD Secretary as chairperson.

The Committee shall submit a regular report to Congress on the implementation of the law three years following its effectivity. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Revision of Laws for appropriate consideration.

The measure also provides, among others, for penalties ranging from fines of not less than P10,000 or imprisonment of not less than six months to fines of not more than P200,000.00 or imprisonment of not more than two years, or both, at the discretion of the court.

To implement this Act, government agencies may utilize a portion of their respective budget for programs and activities on gender and development.

Gender and development refers to processes undertaken to address gender issues and transform the social, economic and political structures of the society to achieve gender equality and emphasize the fundamental role of women as active agents of development and not just passive recipients of assistance. (Sunnex)

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