New law assures government aid, privileges, better support for 15-M solo parents

SEN. Richard J. Gordon, conveying the elation of over 15 million solo parents in the country, assured  the timely delivery of additional privileges on top of government support soon as the enabling legislation takes effect.

Gordon, principal author of Republic Act 1186 or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act, assured the new law will “help empower the many families that may be going through a rough patch in their lives.”

“We are thankful that a timely law like this has been passed as it shows the liberality and humanity that our society has become over the years,” Gordon said.

The senator added they are hopeful the enabling legislation will also provide timely delivery of state assistance to solo parents and their children.

“Kami ay umaasa na ang batas na ito ay makatutulong sa solo parents at kanilang mga anak na magkaroon ng kaunting ayuda at benepisyong hatid ng estado,” he added.

Citing a recently-published study by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gordon noted there are about 15 million solo parents, 95 percent or more or about 14 million of whom are women.

The new law strengthens the two-decade old Republic Act 8972, which added additional benefits to solo parents and their families and expanded the scope of applicability of the benefits due them.

He affirmed that solo parents are now entitled to a 10 percent discount plus value-added tax exemption for baby’s milk, food, micronutrient supplements, medicine, and other medical supplements for parents earning less than P250,000 yearly, and purchased in the child’s first six years from birth.

At the same time, the newly-enacted Gordon law further provides that “if determined to be under the poverty threshold, they shall be given P1,000 as additional financial assistance, on top of a comprehensive package of social protection packages such as livelihood assistance, counseling, legal services, and the like.”

“We want to make the solo parents feel that the government is behind them and shall not be shortchanged in terms of the provision of services rendered,” the senator affirmed, adding that “they also will not be discriminated by their employers, including an access to the work-at-home set-up, and shall enjoy parental leave and other benefits.”

As defined, also included are any other person who bears sole parental responsibility over a child or children, including a foster parent duly recognized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

At the same time, the bicameral conference committee also expanded the definition of solo parents to spouses of  overseas Filipino workers away from the country from an uninterrupted period of time.

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