DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Single parents are urged to avail of government services mandated by law.

During the regular session of the City Council on Tuesday, Councilor Cherry Ann Bonguyan, chairperson of the committee on appointments and government reorganizations said there are about 14 million solo parents registered with the National Statistics Office in 2013 or around 14 percent of the population.

“What is alarming is the fact that despite the number, a lot of solo parents are not aware of their rights,” she said.

Under the Republic Act (RA) 8972, also known as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000, solo parents and their children can claim benefits and privileges.

“It aims to develop a comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their children to be carried out by the Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) as the lead agency and various government including the non-government organization (NGO),” Bonguyan said.

To avail of the services, Bonguyan said that a person should fit to the definition of a solo parent as defined in RA 8972.

Bonguyan said “a woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity even without the final conviction of the offender provided that the mother keeps and raises the child” qualifies as a solo parent.

The following circumstances also define single parents, a parent that was left or alone in carrying out his or her responsibility due to circumstances including, death of spouse; spouse is detained or serving sentence for a criminal conviction at least one year; physical or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner; legal separation from spouse for at least a year, as long as he or she is entrusted with the custody of the children; declaration of nullity of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church as long as he or she is entrusted with the custody of the children.

The law also says solo parents are those who are: unmarried parent who has preferred to keep and rear her or his child or children instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution; any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children; or any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent.

According to Section 4 of the RA 8972: “Any solo parent whose income in the place of domicile falls below the poverty threshold as set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and subject to the assessment of the DSWD worker in the area shall be eligible for assistance.”

Bonguyan said that those who will declare themselves as solo-parents can avail of comprehensive package of programs and services which includes livelihood, self employment and skills development, employment related benefits, psycho social, educational, health, and housing services.

For solo parents whose income is above the poverty threshold, they can enjoy the benefits of having flexible work schedule, protection against discrimination, and can avail of parental leave of not more than seven working days every year in addition to leave privileges under the existing laws if he or she has rendered service of at least one year.

She said that in order to avail of the government services, a solo parent needs to apply a solo parent identification (ID) at the City Social Welfare and Development office.

After applying, the solo parent could apply services he or she needs from CSWDO, or to specific agencies providing such assistance and services. (

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