CLAIM: Some posts circulating online have claimed that former President Rodrigo Duterte signed the new law granting additional benefits to Filipino solo parents.
The Republic Act No. 11861 or Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Act, in fact, lapsed into law on June 4, without Duterte’s signature.
The Congress ratified last January the bicameral conference committee report on Senate Bill No. 1411 and House Bill No. 8097 and only needed the approval of the former president. But Duterte failed to act on the bill 30 days upon receipt, thus it lapsed into law, as stated in the Constitution.
The new law amended the Republic Act No. 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act, providing additional benefits for solo parents and expanding its coverage.
RA 11861 expanded the definition of solo parents to include spouses or any family member of low-skill overseas Filipino workers away from the country for an uninterrupted period of 12 months. The period before someone can be declared a single parent due to abandonment is also shortened from one year to six months.
Any solo parent who earns a minimum wage and below is now entitled to a financial subsidy of Php 1,000 per month.
A 10% discount and exemptions from value-added tax on baby’s milk, food and micronutrient supplements, medicines, diapers, and other medical supplements purchased within the first six years of a child are also granted to solo parents earning less than P250,000 annually.
In addition to leave privileges under existing laws, any solo parent working in the government and the private sector, regardless of employment status, is entitled to a forfeitable and noncumulative seven-day paid parental leave every year.
Other benefits include scholarships, PhilHealth coverage, and prioritization, particularly solo mothers in re-entering the workforce, and their children as applicable, in apprenticeships, livelihood training, reintegration programs for overseas Filipino workers, and other poverty alleviation programs.
In an earlier statement, Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Arlene Brosas, one of the bill’s principal authors in the House of Representatives, stressed that this will bring huge relief for struggling solo parents.
“The additional benefits granted under this measure will at least mitigate the impact of rising prices, huge income losses and lack of state support,” she said.
GWP has pushed for amendments to the earlier version of the law since the 16th Congress in 2013.
Re-elected Senator Risa Hontiveros, sponsor of SB 1411 and chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, shared this “victory” with millions of solo parents in the Philippines. Hontiveros first pushed for additional benefits in a measure filed in 2018. (davaotoday.com)
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