House OKs bill granting additional benefits to solo parents
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on final reading a bill that aims to grant additional benefits to solo parents in the country.
With 208 affirmative votes, no negative and no abstention, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 8097, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 8972 or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000.
Under the measure, solo parents are entitled to 10 percent discounts and exemption from the value-added tax on the sale of basic necessities of their child or children such as clothing, baby’s milk and food, and children’s medicine, among others. The bill, however, also sets the period of validity of these privileges.
The bill also enhances the educational benefits provided under the current law by guaranteeing full scholarship to a solo parent’s child and prioritizing other children, if any, in the educational programs of the government.
Further, the proposed legislation provides employment programs for solo parents by prioritizing them in the government’s livelihood, training, and poverty alleviation initiatives.
The bill also provides for the medical and health welfare of solo parents by making them a priority in the provision of services in government hospitals and medical facilities.
Tax incentives are likewise provided to establishments that will hire qualified solo parents and will provide discounts on basic necessities of children of solo parents, based on the measure.
Also, the bill mandates local government units to create a Solo Parent Office (SPO) in every city or province and a Solo Parent Division (SPD) attached to the Municipal Social Welfare Office in every municipality.
Any person, corporation, entity or agency that refuses or fails to provide the benefits granted to the solo parent under the proposed law will be fined not less than P10,000 but not more than P50,000 or punished with imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than 1 year, or both, for the first offense.
Subsequent violations were fines of not less than P100,000 but not more than P200,000 or imprisonment of not less than one year but to more than 2 years t, or both, according to the bill.
Meanwhile, a person who misinterprets status or falsifies any document to avail of the benefits will be fined not less than P50,000 but not more than P100,000 and shall be jailed for not less than six months.
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