Expanded Solo Parents Welfare law now only needs Duterte’s approval
MANILA, Philippines — The measure expanding the range of benefits and coverage under the current Solo Parents’ Welfare Act now only needs the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte.
This came after the House of Representatives and the Senate ratified Monday the bicameral conference committee report of the measure which increases the benefits currently provided to solo parents under Republic Act No. 8972 or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000, including monthly cash subsidies and automatic health insurance coverage.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, the chairperson of the Senate’s contingent at the bicameral conference, said the final version of the proposed law included the following provisions:
- The expansion of the definition of solo parents to include spouses of low-skill overseas Filipino workers away from the country for an uninterrupted period of time
- The decrease in the number of months of employment before availment of the Solo Parent leave
- The increase in the age ceiling of the child of the solo parent for availment of benefits, to align this measure with the K-12 educational system
- The provision of a P1000 aid for minimum wage earning solo parents
- Other benefits such as educational scholarships for eligible children of eligible solo parents, a 10% discount on specific medicines for low-income solo parents with children 6 years and below, prioritization in low-cost housing, and Philhealth coverage
- Increased the safeguards of the law against fraud and leakage to ensure that only those who are really solo parents will enjoy the benefits of the law.
Bills on banking
Meanwhile, the House also approved on final reading two bills seeking to regulate cooperative banks in the country and reorganize the state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank).
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the proposed “Cooperative Banking Act” and “New Landbank Act” would help strengthen the cooperative sector, which plays a key role in development, especially in the countryside.
“We hope that through these two legislative measures, we will be able to provide more sound and sustainable financial and credit services to cooperatives and their members,” Velasco said in a statement.
“Now, more than ever, we need to strengthen the cooperative sector as a measure to counter extreme conditions of poverty and improve the livelihoods of rural communities,” he added.
The Cooperative Banking Act seeks to regulate and supervise activities of cooperative banks in order to “achieve sound, stable, sustainable and efficient operations for the protection of the public interest.”
The New Landbank Act, meanwhile, states that Landbank shall allocate 5 percent of its regular loan portfolio for socialized credit to qualified small farmers, fisherfolk and ARBs, pursuant to Republic Act 10000, or The Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009.
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