CHR celebrates ‘timely passage’ of Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act

Published July 7, 2022, 12:25 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

Acknowledging the extra challenges faced by solo parents, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) celebrates the “timely” enactment into law of Republic Act No. 11861, the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act.

With RA 11861, the CHR said that solo parents and stakeholders will be able to get increased benefits and additional support from the government given the escalating costs of goods and services nowadays.

“RA 11861 is a timely response to the unique needs and issues that beset the vulnerable solo parents, and helps ensure the well-being and development of their child or children,” said CHR Executive Director Jacqueline Ann de Guia in a statement.

De Guia said it is “notable” how the law gives primary consideration to low-income parents such as minimum wage earners and below by providing them with a P1,000 monthly cash subsidy.

Even those earning below P250,000 a year are entitled to a 10 percent discount and exemption from the value-added tax of food and milk products and nutritional supplements for their child until six years of age, she said.

Also, she noted that RA 11861 even tapped the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to develop a comprehensive package of social protection services for solo parents and their families. This will include livelihood programs, legal services, counselling, parental training, and stress debriefing, among other things.

“We are hopeful that this will help in the overall welfare of solo parents who usually go through mental health struggles and financial woes as they solely bear the duties and challenges of parenting,” De Guia, a lawyer, said.

At the same time, the CHR lauded a “key amendment” in the law, which is the expanded definition of solo parents.

De Guia said that solo parents now include spouses or any family member of migrant workers under the low or semi-skilled category who are abroad for 12 months straight.

Grandparents, family members, or qualified guardians who bear sole responsibility over the child are also included in the amendment, she said.

She noted that RA 11861 also entitles solo parents to a seven-day parental leave on top of existing leave privileges, and scholarship provision for the solo parent and one full scholarship for the child, as well as automatic health insurance coverage.

“CHR commends those who worked hard for this law that provides concrete ways to improve the plight of solo parents and will help ensure equal opportunities for their families and children,” said de Guia.

“Their disadvantageous situation merits the benefits and support provided by the law so they have an equal fighting chance in life. We look forward to the law’s implementing rules and guidelines for all solo parents and their families to immediately enjoy the benefits,” she added.