DSWD: Amend law to provide more benefits for solo parents
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) called for support for the proposal to amend Republic Act (RA) 8972 or the Solo Parents' Welfare Act of 2000, which grants discounts and benefits to solo parents and their children.
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo led the members of the DSWD Executive Committee and some 200 employees in participating in the signature campaign seeking to fast-track the RA 8972 amendments.
The signature campaign, which hopes to garner one million signatures, will be launched on March 8, International Women's Day. It is spearheaded by the Gabriela Women's Party, the Ilaw para sa Kababaihan at Bata (Light for Women and Children), and the Federation of Solo Parents, Luzvimin.
Taguiwalo also urged local government units to improve social services for solo parents, especially in the barangay level. (READ: The challenges and triumphs of single moms)
"Mahalaga sanang magtayo ng mga day care at child minding centers ang mga barangay unit kung saan maaaring iwanan ng mga solo parents ang kanilang mga anak para makapaghanap-buhay sila. Dapat ding mawala na ang 'stigma' o marka ng kahihiyan sa mga solo parents na karaniwang nagiging mga biktima ng pang-aabuso at pag-alipusta," the DSWD chief said.
(It's important for barangays to establish day care and child minding centers where solo parents can drop off their children so they can work. There should no longer be stigma against solo parents, who often become victims of abuse or ridicule.)
Those interested to participate in the campaign may sign the following form and send it to the Federation of Solo Parents, Luzvimin.
The organizers aim to collect the signatures before they go to the House of Representatives for a hearing on the proposals to amend the law when session resumes in May.
There are currently 10 bills filed in the House of Representatives proposing amendments to RA 8972, which was enacted 16 years ago.
The suggested amendments include a 20% discount for:
- purchase of baby's milk and food supplements made within 3 years from the child's birth
- purchase of medicines and vaccines for the child made within 18 years of the child's birth
- hospital bill of the solo parent when his or her child is admitted to a public or private hospital
- public and private recreational facilities where solo parents spend time with their children
The following discounts are also being proposed:
- 12% for basic necessities
- 15% for school supplies until the child reaches the age of 21
- 10% for school tuition per child studying college in either a public or private school
- 10% for consultation and laboratory diagnostic fees, as well as purchase of medicines for solo parents and their dependents
A 7-day parental leave with pay for solo parents who have rendered at least 6 months of service in a company is also being proposed. (READ: 'Nay-Tay': The plight of solo parents)
According to a study by the Department of Health and the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health, there were 14 million solo parents out of the country's total population of 94 million in 2007.
With a 30.5% growth rate for the population of solo parents, the Federation of Solo Parents estimated that the number will reach 20 million this year. – Rappler.com