Legarda: Empower Solo Parents, Provide Better and More Benefits

February 16, 2021

Former Senator, now Deputy Speaker, Loren Legarda called for continued and stronger policy measures to empower solo parents in the country, being one of the vulnerable sectors of our society through the immediate enactment of House Bill 8097, aimed at reducing financial stress shouldered by solo parents.

“With the current circumstances brought by the pandemic and series of intense natural disasters, solo parents have to attend to parental duties single-handedly while balancing the demands of working from home or, worse, dealing with the sudden unemployment or loss of livelihood. With these challenges, we saw the need to amend RA 8972 or Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 to address the emerging needs and concerns of solo parents,” Legarda said.

Given the 15 million solo parents, as reported in a study conducted by the Department of Health (DOH) and University of the Philippines National Institute for Health (UP NIH) funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), House Bill 8097 aims to provide the following additional support and benefits to qualified solo parents:

• 10% discounts from purchases for their children’s basic needs;
• Exemption from the VAT on the sale of children’s clothing, milk, medicine, vaccines, basic school supplies, medical and dental services, utilization of water and electricity supplied by public utilities registered under the name of the solo parent, fares for land transportation in PUVs, fares for domestic air and sea transport services, and services in restaurants, recreational centers and hotels;
• Priority in the provision of free medical and dental services in all government facilities in accordance with the Universal Healthcare Act;
• Special discounts on the purchase of basic commodities, subject to the guidelines to be issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Agriculture (DA)

Moreover, the measure provides child minding centers and promotes breastfeeding in the workplace; employment programs and livelihood trainings; and priority in the provision of services in hospitals and medical facilities. It will also establish Solo Parents Office in every province or city and a Solo Parent Division under the Municipal Social Welfare Office in every municipality for the immediate assistance and the effective implementation of the provisions stated in the measure.

Legarda, co-author of House Bill 8097, has been pushing for the amendment of the 20-year old law since her stint in the Senate. The three-term former Senator, expressed optimism that the proposed measure when passed into law will provide much-needed assistance to solo parents for them to effectively deal with the demands of parenthood amidst the economic difficulties that the country is experiencing.

“We have to push for the provision of these additional benefits for them to be able to provide a better future for their children. The passage of this measure is the least we can do to ease the burden of solo parents in the country,” Legarda concluded.***