‘Solo parent’ OFWs to benefit from bill
This might be “complicated.”
Spouses of Filipinos working abroad for over a year should be regarded as “solo parents” who are entitled to benefits accorded to senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
This is among the salient provisions of a measure introduced by Sen. Risa Hontiveros that would expand the mandated government assistance given to single parents and their children under Republic Act No. 8972, more known as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act.
“[T]he reforms [I proposed] would alleviate the plight of solo parents in the country and mitigate the disadvantages that children in solo parent households have to live with,” Hontiveros said in a statement on Sunday.
Under Senate Bill No. 1936, spouses of “low and semiskilled” overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) staying in a foreign land for more than a year fall under the “solo parent” category as defined by law.
Hontiveros proposed that individuals married to OFWs be allowed to enjoy 20-percent discount when paying for medicines, vaccines, health supplements and other medical needs of their children under 18 years old.
They would also be entitled to 20-percent discount in hospital expenses, medical consultation and laboratory fees, both in private and public health establishments, she said.
The measure would also provide the same discount to spouses of OFWs and their kids for the use of “all private and public recreational facilities,” a privilege accorded to senior citizens and PWDs.
Hontiveros said the measure would also mandate public and private schools to give the “solo parents” 20-percent discount on their children’s tuition from preschool to college.
“Solo parents could also claim tax amnesty and/or reduction of real estate or inheritance taxes, as well as P50,000 personal exemption from the individual income tax in addition to the existing exemption that a solo parent may claim for their children,” she added.
Her bill would likewise require all local governments to establish their own “Solo Parents Affairs Office” and companies employing more than 100 people to have day care facilities.
The Philippine Statistics Authority estimated 3 million solo parents in the country in 2015, two-thirds of whom were mothers.
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