A party-list group which crafted the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act on Wednesday hailed the enactment of the measure, indicating it was a dream come true.
Ang Probinsyano Partylist Rep. Alfred Delos Santos was elated. “Natutuwa po ako na naisabatas na ang Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act.”
“Matagal din naming trinabaho ito sa kongreso. Malapit po ang batas na ito sa aking puso dahil ako po ay maagang naulila sa ama. Ang aking ina ay isang solo parent na itinaguyod kaming limang magkakapatid. Kaya ramdam ko po ang hirap ng isang magulang na mag-isang kumakayod at kumakalinga sa kanyang pamilya. Ang batas na ito ay alay namin sa milyun-milyong solo parents nating kababayan. Nasa inyo po ang aking malalim na respeto,” he said.
Republic Act No. 11861 or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act was among 25 bills enacted by President Duterte and released by Malacanang. It may be recalled that as early as 2019, both chambers of the 18th Congress worked to ensure the passage of the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act. The House of Representatives submitted it to the Senate on January 20, 2021, for approval. The Senate eventually approved the bill on December 13, 2021.
Among those who actively lobbied for the passage of the bill in Congress was [“I am elated that after going through a lot of Congress hearings, Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act is finally a law. This is close to my heart because I lost my father early on. My mother singularly took care of her five children. I have experienced and felt the hardships of a solo parent taking on the cudgels and responsibilities on her family. This law is dedicated to millions of Filipino solo parents. My deepest respect and hats off to you!”]
According to a study conducted by University of the Philippines Manila and funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 14 to 15 million Filipinos are considered “solo parents”.
The law modified the definition of “solo parents” to include persons who provide sole parental care due to birth as a consequence of rape, death of spouse, detention of the spouse, physical or mental incapacity, legal or de facto separation, nullity or annulment of marriage, and abandonment by spouse.
Also included were family members of overseas Filipino workers who are in the low/semi-skilled category and who have been away from the Philippines for an unbroken period of one year. The amendment also covered grandparents, family members, and even non-relatives who bear the sole responsibility on a child.
The law also entitles that solo parents to the following important benefits: a monthly cash subsidy of P1,000 from the government for those who are minimum wage earners or below will now; a Solo Parent Identification Card (SPIC) / Booklet that would enable them 10% discount on baby’s milk, diapers, medicines and even school supplies for children up to 6 years old; additional 7 days leave with pay, on top of other employment leave benefits; automatic PhilHealth coverage; priority in housing benefits; DepEd, CHED and TESDA scholarships or grants for the children; apprenticeship programs at TESDA for qualified single parents. Moreover, an important provision in the new law grants rights and benefits to a solo parent until the child is 22 years old.
To avail of the benefits of the solo parents law, beneficiaries must secure a Solo Parent Identification Card (SPIC) from the Solo Parents Office of the province or the municipality, as well as all documentary requirements provided by law.