ILOILO City – Single parents in this city would soon enjoy more benefits than what’s already provided by Republic Act (RA) 8972, or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000.
This after the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) approved on third and final reading an ordinance institutionalizing programs and services exclusively for them and their children.
Ordinance proponent Councilor Lyndon Acap said solo parents must first acquire an ID from the City Social Welfare and Development Office before they avail themselves of the benefits under the proposal passed by the SP last Friday.
The measure is awaiting the signature of outgoing Mayor Jose Espinosa III.
RA 8972 identifies a solo parent as:
* a woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity even without a final conviction of the offender (provided the mother keeps and raises the child)
* a parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to death of spouse
* a parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood while the spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one year
* a parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner
* a parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one year, as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children
* a parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children
* a parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to abandonment of spouse for at least one year
* unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear her/his child/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
* 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
The local ordinance would give premium to helping solo parents improve their income.
Livelihood assistance and skills training, to be spearheaded by the City Cooperative and Development Office and the Technical Institute of Iloilo City, would be provided for single parents.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority would also help in giving skills development programs.
The Labor department and the Social Welfare department, meanwhile, would extend their Self Employment and Entrepreneurship Development and Self Empowerment Assistance-Kaunlaran programs, respectively, to single parents.
Identified partner establishments would also give a minimum of 10-percent discount to single parents.
Other privileges include special lanes, use of a priority parking space and provision of special seats in all kinds of public transport.
Housing benefits, medical assistance and educational benefits are also among the privileges under the ordinance, patterned after RA 8972.
The SP-approved measure would also declare every first week of February as the “Solo Parent’s Week.” Single parents would be given recognition for the efforts they “imparted for the well-being of the family.”
Citing a decade-old data, Acap said there were nearly 14 million single parents out of 94 million Filipinos in 2007./PN