In its continuing commitment to protect the welfare of every solo parent, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo led the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 11861 or the Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Act.
RA 11861 which amended RA 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000, promotes the rights of Filipino solo parents and ensures that they can receive adequate social protection programs from the government.
In his message, Secretary Tulfo stated that the Department recognized the urgency of taking a step to end the deplorable plight of solo parents in raising their children alone.
“We understand their hardships and the DSWD has been firm in supporting the expansion of the benefits for our solo parents. This is the reason why I ordered for the immediate crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11861 or the Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Act,” the Secretary added.
With the expansion of the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act, solo parents earning a minimum wage or below will receive a monthly cash subsidy of P1,000 from their respective local government units, provided that they are not a beneficiary of any other cash assistance program of the government.
Meanwhile, those solo parents who are earning less than P250,000 annually are also entitled to a ten percent (10%) discount and exemption from the value-added tax on their child’s milk, food, micronutrient supplements, sanitary diapers, duly prescribed medicines, vaccines, and other medical supplements from the birth of the child until they turn six years old; will also be prioritized in low-cost housing projects through the National Housing Authority; automatic coverage under PhilHealth’s National Health Insurance program; and access to scholarships and other educational programs of the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Furthermore, the Department stated that solo parents will also be prioritized in the selection of new beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program with children in school, provided that their income is within or below the poverty threshold; and the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department.
The DSWD, in coordination with other government agencies, is also mandated to provide solo parents with targeted interventions for individuals in need of protection which include temporary shelter, counseling, legal advice and assistance, medical care, self-concept or ego-building, crisis management, and spiritual nourishment.
The Secretary also expressed his gratitude, on behalf of the DSWD, to the members of the Technical Working Group for their valuable contributions to the crafting of the IRR.
Together with the DSWD in the Inter-Agency Coordinating and Monitoring Committee (IACMC) are the Department of Finance, Department of Education, Department of Justice, Department of Migrant Workers, Commission on Higher Education, and the Department of Health.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, one of the authors of RA 11861, also delivered her message virtually during the ceremony. On the other hand, other authors of the law sent their representatives to the signing ceremony, namely, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, represented by MALASAKIT@BAYANIHAN Partylist Representative Anthony Rolando Golez, Jr., and Senator Maria Imelda Josefa Remedios “Imee” Marcos, represented by Director Julieta Apostol.
Gabriela Representative Arlene D. Brosas also graced the event, being one of the pillar advocates in the passage of the law.
Representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Labor and Employment, Civil Service Commission, Philippine Commission on Women, Department of Budget and Management, National Housing Authority, National Economic and Development Authority, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Union of Local Authorities also attended to show their support to the signing of the IRR.