MANILA – A solo parents’ group said that while it accepted Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s public apology, it plans to seek the lawmaker’s help to be the “champion” of their advocacy to fight for benefits for mothers and fathers raising their children on their own.
Despite this, Federation of Solo Parents LuzViMin President Carrie Javier said that Senate Majority Leader Sotto's "na-ano" remark to Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo left a “bad taste in the mouth,” and was an insult to solo parents like her.
Javier, however, said she understands that Sotto's intention to just lighten up the hearing through a "joke," and that his apology was well accepted by their community.
Along with the acceptance of Sotto’s apology is their group's intention to seek an audience with the lawmaker, to ask him to be their "champion" in seeking the immediate approval of amendments they are pushing for Republic Act 8972, or the Solo Parent Welfare Act.
These include discounts for clothing materials of children 12 years old and below, a 20-percent discount on milk and food supplements for children, and a similar discount on medicines, among others.
"Move on na tayo...my plan is, I will write to him, ask an audience with him, and ask for his support to our advocacy... let's get him (Sotto) as an advocate in the Senate. A champion of solo parents," Javier said.
Javier also appealed to her fellow solo parents and those who continue to bash Sotto online to spare his daughter Ciara Sotto, who is also a single mom.
"Please stop reposting the photo of Ciara Sotto and her son. Please spare them...let's prove to them that we solo parents are decent," she said.
Javier, a solo parent of three boys—one with a mental illness—said it is about time that people removed the stigma on individuals who raise children by themselves.
Aside from the monetary hardships, one big challenge that solo parents have to bear is the absence of a partner who can give support during trying times.
However, one solo parent, “Rica” (not her real name), said that despite Sotto’s remarks, the damage has already been done.
While she felt insulted, Rica said she opted not to join Sotto's bashers so as not to anger herself even more, and again feel the hardship of her situation as a solo parent.
Rica, who has two grown children, left her husband due to his repeated womanizing.
Rica echoed Javier's appeal for everyone to spare Ciara Sotto and her son, and said that children do not deserve attacks. She also cautioned Sotto to be careful with his words.
"Do not bring your Eat Bulaga jokes to the Senate," she said.
In a statement, Sotto said that he is “ready and willing” to fight for the rights of single parents.
"Tell the association I'm ready and willing and will fight for their rights. Remember, I have two daughters who are solo parents,” he said.
As for his social media bashers, Sotto said, "I'm in a tournament. People have been using that statement everywhere to give a comic description if the husband is not present. Mga trolls lang nagpapalaki nyan. Hayaan mo na sila."