Bill granting more benefits to solo parents lapses into law

Solo parents will soon be entitled to a new tax exemption, work leaves and other benefits under the Republic Act (RA) No. 11861 or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act. 

Under Republic Act (RA) No. 11861, which lapsed into law on June 4, 2022, solo parents will get a 7-day parental leave each year provided they have worked for at least 6 months for their current employer. 

This will be on top of the leave privileges under existing laws. 

Section 15 of the new law also provides solo parents earning less than P250,000 annually a 10 percent discount and exemption from value-added tax on baby’s milk food and micronutrient supplements and sanitary diapers, duly prescribed medicines, vaccines and other medical supplements purchased for their children below six-years old. 

Those who are earning a minimum wage and below will also get a P1,000 monthly cash subsidy from their concerned city or municipal government. 

Solo parents will also get automatic coverage under the National Health Insurance Corporation Program, prioritization in government programs, including housing projects.

To avail of the said additional benefits stipulated in Section 15 of the new law, a solo parent must present his or her Solo Parent Identification Card (SPIC). 

The SPIC will be issued by the Solo Parents Office or Division (SPO or SPD) of every province, city, and municipal government. 

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will create a centralized database of all SPIC holders nationwide. 

Only a solo parent exercising sole parental care and support of his or her child or children can avail of benefits under RA 11861. 

Those who will violate the provisions of the new law may face fines ranging from P10,000 or P200,000 as well as imprisonment, which could last not less than six months to two years.  

The DSWD Secretary will issue the implementing rules and regulation of RA 11861 within 90 days from the approval of the act. 

The new law will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

Under the Constitution, the president can veto a bill, sign it or let it lapse into law thirty days from the time he receives the final enrolled form.

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