By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reiterated its call to legislators to facilitate the amendment of the Solo Parents Welfare Act to grant additional benefits to an estimated 15 million solo parents nationwide.
On the occasion of the 18th year anniversary of the enactment into law of RA 8972, the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000, DSWD pushed for its amendments as one of the priority legislative measures of the department.
In its position paper submitted to the House of Representatives Committee on Revision of Laws, DSWD stated some recommendations which include decrease of waiting period from one year to six months before a solo parent may be allowed to avail of the benefits provided for in the law, and this should be without prejudice to the solo parent and his/her availment of other programs and services from the concerned government agencies.
DSWD also recommended that since solo parents are bound by the reality to solely raise and care for a family, counseling, crisis management, stress debriefing, and legal services, among others, be made available to all solo parents regardless of economic status.
To drumbeat the need to amend the law, the Department, in coordination with the Federation of Solo Parents Luzvimin, the umbrella organization of 20 solo parent associations nationwide, will conduct an awareness event dubbed as, “18 Years Old na ang RA 8972, Kumusta na mga Solo Parents” on November 10 at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.
It is expected to be attended by an estimated 200 solo parent leaders, advocates and representatives of different government agencies and local government units.
The one-day national event also aims to provide a venue for local implementers, solo parent leaders/ advocates and stakeholders to engage in interactive discussion on the issues and concerns affecting the sector, and come up with a concrete plan of action in advocating the amendments.
DSWD Undersecretary Luzviminda Ilagan, adviser of the DSWD Central Office Solo Parents – Employees Organization, said “it is difficult enough to be a parent even with a partner, what more if you are raising a child or several children alone, coping with the challenges of providing for the physical, financial, and psychological well-being of the child.”
“Those who have less in life should have more in law, and that is why, we, in the various chapters and federations of solo parents would like to see the bills in Congress passed. These bills which are intended to provide assistance and support to solo parents should be passed as soon as possible,” Ilagan said.
The DSWD official also posed a challenge to the leaders of various solo parent organizations.
“Organizing our groups is very important so the voice of solo parents must be heard. We must lobby so our legislators would move fast. For many decades, we have been struggling to have these bills passed so that a very important sector of our society, the solo parents, would be provided with much-needed assistance,” she explained.