House OKs bill giving additional benefits to solo parents

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 19 2021 09:24 PM | Updated as of Jan 19 2021 10:46 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Voting 208-0, the House of Representatives has approved on 3rd and final reading House Bill 8097 which amends Republic Act 8972 to give additional benefits to solo parents.

The measure was sponsored by Committee on Revision on Laws Chair Cheryl Deloso Montalla and Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas.

Agusan del Norte 1st District Rep. Lawrence Fortun, who chaired the Technical Working Group for the measure, said the passage of the bill is the House's response to the clamor from solo parents to update the existing Solo Parents' Welfare Act of 2000.

Fortun added that the salient provisions of the bill, which aims to provide comprehensive support to solo parents in rearing their children and improve their overall well-being, include the grant of 7 days paid parental leaves; prioritization in government employment and livelihood programs; provision of social safety assistance during disasters and calamities; and the creation of solo parents offices in local government units.

Fortun also said that special privileges are also proposed to be granted to indigent solo parents and their children, particularly those earning below P250,000 annually, such as scholarship programs; discounts on basic goods and services such as children’s clothing, baby’s milk and food supplements, medicines, fares for land, sea, and air transportation, and utilities.
 
Fortun lists the following salient provisions of the bill:

1. Grant of 7 days paid parental leaves to solo parents

2. Benefits to qualified solo parents (solo parents earning below P250,000 annually)

  1. a.The DepEd, CHED, and TESDA shall provide scholarship programs for qualified solo parents and a Full Scholarship for 1 child of a qualified solo parent; prioritization of children of qualified solo parents in the government’s education programs
    b.10% discount and VAT exemption on goods and services from all establishments, including:
  • Children’s clothing materials
  • Baby’s milk, food and micronutrient supplements, and sanitary diapers
  • Prescribed medicines, vaccines, and other medical supplements
  • Medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees, and professional fees in all private healthcare institutions
  • Basic school supplies
  • Water and electric supplied by public utilities
  • Fares for land transportation in public utility vehicles
  • Actual fares for domestic air transport and sea shipping vessels
  • Goods and services in restaurants, recreational centers, hotels and similar lodging establishments 

    c. Priority in the provision of free medical and dental services and diagnostic and laboratory services in all government facilities
    d. Special discounts on the purchase of basic commodities
    e. Benefits and privileges given by the GSIS, SSS, and PAG-IBIG to solo parents

3. Prioritization of solo parents and their children in the government’s employment and livelihood programs. Private entities that employ at least 10 solo parents are entitled to additional deductions from their gross income.

4. Social safety assistance to solo parents and their children during disasters and calamities.

5. Mandating the DOLE and CSC to encourage the establishment of child minding centers in all workplaces, and promote the practice of breastfeeding in the workplace.

6. Creation of Solo Parents Office in every province and city, and Solo Parent Division under the Municipal Social Welfare Office in every municipality

7. Issuance of a Solo Parent Identification Card and booklet (for qualified solo parents only) that are valid for 1 year anywhere in the Philippines

8. Detailed documentary requirements for the registration and issuance of Solo Parent Identification Cards and booklets for fair administration

9. Creation of the Inter-Agency Coordinating and Monitoring Committee and Joint Congressional Oversight Committee

10. Provides penalties for entities refusing or failing to provide the benefits granted to solo parents and for persons misrepresenting status to avail benefits provided in the Act.

Previously, Brosas announced that the bill will add the following benefits to solo parents:

  • Ten percent discount on children's clothing materials; baby's milk, food and supplements and sanitary diapers; medicines, vaccines and medical supplements; medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees, and professional fees; and basic school supplies.
  • Seven days of parental leave with pay, regardless of employment status as long as solo parent has rendered at least 6 months of service.

”Malaking pakinabang, at malaking hakbang din sa pagsulong ng karapatan, kagalingan, kalusugan, at kabuhayan ng ating mga solo parents at ng kanilang mga anak ang nilalaman nitong panukala," Brosas said.
 
The bill will be transmitted to the Senate for that chamber’s action.

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