Senate approves bill expanding solo parents’ benefits

Maris Federez   •   December 7, 2021   •   268


MANILA, Philippines — The Senate has approved on second reading a bill that will amend the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 and expand its range of benefits and coverage.

With amendments made by Senators Pia Cayetano and Risa Hontiveros, the Upper Chamber on Monday (December 6) approved Senate Bill No. 1411 or the proposed Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2020.

According to a Senate Twitter post, the amendments to SBN 1411 include the requirement to submit a sworn affidavit declaring that the solo parent is not cohabiting with a partner or co-parent and has the custody and bears the sole parental responsibility over the child or children.

Hontiveros credited Sen. Pia Cayetano for proposing “all but one” of the individual amendments, and Sen. Imee Marcos being one of the original authors of SBN 1411 or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act, @senatePH said on Twitter.

A solo parent could be a guardian (who may be a relative) who takes care of the child or children of an overseas worker. In the previous bill, only the spouses of overseas workers are considered as solo parents.

SB No. 1411 also included grandparents who have the sole parental responsibility for their grandchildren.

The bill also guaranteed that grandparents who are also senior citizens are entitled to receive benefits both under the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2020 and the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003.

SB No. 1411 also placed safeguards on possible abuse, as unmarried partners are not automatically considered as solo parents should they have a child.

The bill also gave solo parents a 20% discount on the “medical needs of the child, the child’s basic necessities, diapers until age 3, hospital bills of both the solo parent and the child, and the child’s tuition fees from kindergarten until college”.

It also gave solo parents additional seven days of parental leave every year on top of regular leave privileges under existing laws.

The counterpart bill in the House of Representatives was approved on third reading last January 19.

More benefits for solo parents earning P250,000 annually under HB 8097

Marje Pelayo   •   January 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives (HOR) has approved on third and final reading a measure providing additional benefits to solo parents.

But the benefits do not apply to all.

House Bill 8097 which was approved by the HOR last Tuesday (January 19), aims to amend the 20-year-old Solo Parent Welfare Act of 2000.

According to the head of the technical working group Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun, the bill notes that only single parents who earn less than P250,000 a year qualifies for the additional benefits.

“Kailangan talaga ang bottom line dito is ikaw lang talaga. Kung naghiwalay kayo, iyong other spouse hindi talaga tumutulong o kung tumulong man very insignificant. Halimbawa, nagpapadala lang ng pera isang beses isang taon, insignificant iyon,” he said.

Benefits include 10% discount on basic necessities for their children such as clothes, baby milk, micronutrient supplements and medicines.

They will also be prioritized in free medical, dental, diagnostic and laboratory services in all government facilities among others.

Xenia, a solo parent, favors the bill saying she needs all the help she can get in raising her children.

“Ang gastos pa lang namin dito sa pagkain mga P6,000 sa isang buwan. Kung napasok pa yung mga anak namin, kulang na kulang pa iyon kasi baon araw-araw. Dalawa iyong anak ko,” she explained.

Another benefit that the bill offers is a scholarship program for qualified solo parents and one of their children.

“Malaking tulong yun kung sakaling maisabatas iyong panukalang batas na iyon para sa mga solo parent. kasi ang hirap magpa-aral. Ito na nga lang pagbibigay ng baon sa araw-araw mahirap na eh di lalo na kung college,” Xenia added.

Congressman Fortun said there are only 300,000 members registered with the solo parent organization but he expects that more will join the group when the law is signed into law. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Bill seeking additional annual leave, benefits for solo parents pushed in Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A bill seeking to grant additional annual leave and benefits for solo parents has been filed in the Senate.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said she lodged the Senate Bill No. 164 or the Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Act to provide solo parents more benefits to help them as they face challenges in raising a child alone.

“Raising a child is daunting, but raising a child alone constitutes a specific set of challenges and difficulties,” Hontiveros said in a statement Monday.

Under the bill, the senator proposes to grant solo parents seven additional days of parental leave annually, on top of leave privileges under the country’s existing laws.

The measure also seeks to entitle solo parents to a 20 percent discount on goods and services in private establishments, costs of childcare and on tuition per child.

It also mandates government and private companies with more than 100 employees to create daycare facilities.

“Para sa mga solo parents, maaaring mag-isa ka lang na kumakayod. My proposal is to ensure that our solo parents are given enough support to take care of our children well,” she said.

The bill also seeks to expand the definition of solo parents to include spouses of low-income overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who are away from their homes for an unbroken period of one year.

“Parang mga solo parents na rin ang ilan sa mga asawa ng OFWs natin,” she said. “Minsan, more than a year na nasa abroad ang asawa. Kailangang suportahan ang mga asawa ng ating mga OFWs. We need to extend the solo parents’ benefits to them too.”

Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality, also pushes in her bill the creation of a Solo Parents Affairs Office by the local government and requires every barangay to have a help desk that can immediately assist solo parents and their children.

“Gusto kong malaman ng mga single tatay at single nanay na katulad ko na may nakikinig sa kanilang mga hinaing. We want to support our solo parents the best way we can. Ang isinusulong nating mga benepisyo ay mga konkretong solusyon,” she said.

This is not the first time that Hontiveros pushed to expand the privileges for solo parents as she also filed a similar proposal last year.

QC Council seeks tax discounts for senior citizens, solo parents

admin   •   December 6, 2016

File photo.

File photo.


The additional discount on annual payment of real property tax (RPT) will greatly benefit senior citizens of Quezon City, majority of whom depend solely on their monthly pension which, in most cases, is not even enough to cover their daily needs, particularly medicines.

Councilor Allan Benedict Reyes is the main author of proposed Ordinance 20cc-175 that mandates the granting of additional 10 percent discount on the annual RPT payments of senior citizens that own residential lots in Quezon City.

To qualify for the tax discount, the residential property should be the senior citizen’s actual residence and that the senior citizen is registered with the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) of Quezon City.

If the senior citizen has multiple properties, the 10 percent discount on RPT shall only apply to the one where he or she actually lives, according to the draft ordinance.

The same also goes for proposed Ordinance 20cc-176 that seeks to grant an additional five percent RPT discount to solo parents who are registered owners of residential properties as indicated in the real property tax declarations.

The city council came up with the proposed legislations after hearing the suggestions and opinions of the thousands of property owners who attended the 29 public consultations conducted in different barangays for proposed Ordinance Nr. 20cc-141.

“The said 500% increase will be on fair market value, not on the payments to be made by our citizenry. Yes, there will be an increase in the payments but not that extent. But the 500% increase is only to the property to the fare market value of each property,” Quezon City District III Councilor Allan Benedict Reyes.

The draft legislation of Quezon City government set the revised schedule of fair market values (FMV) of lands and basic construction cost for buildings in the city as mandated by Section 219 of Republic Act 7160 or the 1991 Local Government Code.

Reyes has earlier said, that the proposed ordinance will still undergo many revisions before it is finalized and approved by the council for possible implementation next year, barring any hitches.

Reyes led the public consultations in the barangays to discuss the proposed ordinance to the city residents and hear out and answer their concerns and suggestions.

“Ang mata-target pong revenue ay 700 million po pero wala po dito kung mag-a-avail pa po ng discounts at iba’t-ibang metigating measures na gagawin po ng city council para po gumaan po ang babayaran ng bawat isa,” Reyes said.

“Yung 2.5% po ng tax rates, ‘yung 1% dyan automatically sa special education fund mapupunta. So, that will be used to construct new school buildings all over the city and yung 1.5% na natiitra, 30% of which goes to the barangay and then the 70% will be to the general fund,” District I Councilor Alexis Herrera explained. — Bryan de Paz | UNTV News & Rescue


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