MANILA, Aug. 31 (PNA) — Solo parents in the country have found allies among lawmakers in the House of Representatives as they participated in the filing on Wednesday of House Bill No. 3398, which provides additional relief and benefits to single parents.
The Bill seeks to amend Republic Act No. 8972, also known as the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000, apparently for not having enough teeth for the needed expansion of benefits and proper implementation.
The proposed amendments center on additional benefits to single parents and penalizing those who will violate the Act.
The filing of the bill was led by its proponents –- Gabriela Women’s Party-list Reps. Arlene D. Brosas and Emmie A. De Jesus, together with Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Anak Pawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, Alliance of Concerned Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, and Kabataan Partly-list Rep. Sarah Jane Elago.
Under the amending bill, solo parent is defined as any individual who falls under any of the following categories:
* Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to the dissolution of marriage by a legally obtained divorce.
* A single/annulled/divorced parent who may have later legally married but whose child is not receiving financial support from the other parent, or is not legally adopted by the current spouse.
H.B. 3398 wants solo parents to enjoy discounts in their purchases of basic necessities, clothing, baby’s milk, food and food supplements; medicines, vaccines, medical supplements; school tuition fees, hospital bills, consultation and laboratory diagnostic fees. It also provides for basic personal exemption from individual income tax, parental leave for seven days, penalties for those who will violate the law, and strengthening of mechanisms for national government agencies and local government units tasked to implement programs and services for solo parents and their children.
The proposed law also wants to provide additional benefits to solo parents with a net income of PHP250,000 and below a year.
“This (the bill and the amendments therein) will be of great help for our solo parents,” said Rep. Brosas in a press conference after the filing of the bill. Leilani S. Junio/PNA