Solo parent-like perks for single persons with dependents sought in House
MANILA, Philippines — Single or unmarried persons with dependents may enjoy some of the benefits given to a single parent under Republic Act No. 11861 or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act, if a bill filed at the House of Representatives is enacted.
House Bill No. 1364 authored by PBA Rep. Margarita Nograles amends the said law to include single persons — those who have never married or those who are legally separated from their spouses and are supporting people who are not his or her child — as recipients of some benefits under R.A. No. 11861.
Nograles’ bill, filed last July 6 but was released to the media only on Monday, included three particular benefits under the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act that single persons may receive:
- Educational benefits under Section 9, which mandates the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to provide scholarships to the solo parent and two of his or her dependents;
- Monthly cash pension of P1,500 under Section 15, if the solo parent is a minimum wage earner and does not receive other cash subsidies from the government;
- Flexible work from home schedule under Section 12, which compels employers of single parents to provide flexible working hours and other considerations like telecommuting as long as it does not affect the employee and the company’s productivity
Nograles explained that the State has a responsibility to protect the welfare of single persons, as usually, in a close-knit family set-up, single persons bear the responsibility of being breadwinners.
“The typical Filipino family is, by its nature, extended and closely-knit. It is not unusual in a number of Filipino families that the children who have already graduated from college and begun working, or even those who stopped attending school to find work due to poverty, would eventually become the breadwinners of the family,” she said in the bill’s explanatory note.
“In almost all cases nationwide, many of such single individuals’ function like a solo parent and bears the most burden in the family. The older children usually support the schooling of their younger siblings. The unmarried or single children, on the other hand, more often than not, support their parents especially when the latter are advancing in age,” she added.
According to the lawmaker, her bill would strengthen and develop the Filipino family — which is a goal of the 1987 Constitution.
“This stark reality behooves us to provide additional benefits and privileges to single or unmarried individuals with dependents through giving them leave privileges and a flexible working schedule, both of which will enable them to have more time to attend to various family matters,” Nograles noted.
“This is to recognize their sacrifice and their financial and moral contribution for the strengthening of the Filipino family,” she added.
The Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act, passed by both chambers of Congress last January 25, lapsed into law last June 4 without former president Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.
Under the said law, more perks are given to solo parents — including discounts on items for children like baby milk, food, and other supplements. It also expanded the definition of what a solo parent is, now including grandparents left to tend after their grandchildren. With reports from Andy Hoo, INQUIRER.net trainee
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