Expanded benefits for solo parents urged

Alfred Delos Santos
Ang Probinsyano Rep. Alfred Delos Santos

ANG Probinsyano party-list is seeking to amend the Solo Parent Act in order to expand the benefits and privileges for single parents under the law in the face of the economic uncertainties brought about by the ongoing health crisis.

According to Ang Probinsyano Rep. Alfred Delos Santos, granting additional benefits and privileges to single parents is timely, as many of them may have been affected by the economic downturn due to the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic and may find it even more difficult to make ends meet just to raise their children.

“With the outbreak of COVID-19, we are very much alarmed about the economic situation of every Filipino, but I am particularly worried about single parents especially those belonging to the disadvantaged sector,” Delos Santos, an ally and friend of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) led by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez as President, said.

“Ang ibig sabihin po nito na mas mabigat kasi ang pasanin ng ating mga solo parent sa gitna ng pandemya upang matustusan ang mga pangagailangan ng kanilang mga anak, lalo na at parating ng ang pasukan sa eskwela ng mga bata,” he added.

In House Bill (HB) No. 5497, Delos Santos is proposing the following additional benefits and privileges for solo parents to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 8972:

• 20 percent fare discount privilege on domestic regular fares, subject to the implementing rules and regulations of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

• 5 percent discount relative to the monthly utilization of water and electricity, provided that monthly consumption does not exceed 100Kwh for power and 30 m3 for water.

• 20 percent discount on purchase of goods and services, which include medicines and medical supplies to be determined by the Department of Health; professional fees of licensed health professionals, medical and dental fees in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and homes care services; and laboratory fees.

The proposed measure, however, requires solo parents to submit proof of their status to the DSWD for proper documentation and identification to be determined by the department, in order to avail of the discounts and privileges.

The DSWD is also mandated to put in place a mechanism or system of documentation and identification for single parents.

“We are appealing to our colleagues to consider this proposal to ease the burden of our solo parents,” Delos Santos said.

“We should put forward measures to ensure that the already difficult predicament of solo parents be made easier so that their children would not be neglected and would be care for physically, mentally and emotionally. I strong believe this is one of the steps,” the Ang Probinsyano representative said.