Implementation and Information Campaign for RA 8972
Privilege Speech by Councilor Louie John Bonguyan on RA 8972 delivered on the Davao City Coucil Session on September 20, 2010.
Implementation and Information Campaign
for RA 8972 known as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000
Senator Loren Legarda has filed Senate Bill No. 1429 entitled “Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2010.” According to SB 1429, a “solo parent” is a parent who is solely responsible for parenthood of a child or children due to his or her spouse’s death, imprisonment, mental incapacity, or legal separation. Women who got pregnant due to sexual abused are also considered as “solo parents.” SB 1429 grants qualified solo or single parents to benefits such as:
1. Ten percent (10%) discount from all purchases of clothing and clothing materials for the child from birth up to two years;
2. Fifteen (15%) discount from all purchases of baby’s milk, food and food supplements;
3. Fifteen (15%) percent discount from all purchases of medicines and other medical supplements/supplies for the child; and
4. Basic personal exemption from individual income tax.
While SB 1429 is still pending in the Senate, we already have Republic Act No. 8972 known as the “Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000” and entitled as “An Act Providing for Benefits and Privileges to Solo Parents and their Children, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.”
RA 8972 was promulgated in November 7, 2000, almost 10 years ago. Among others, it provides a working definition of a solo parent and lists the benefits and privileges that the government should extend to eligible solo parents.
Section 5 of RA 8972 is as follows:
Section 5. Comprehensive Package of Social Development and Welfare Services. – A comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families will be developed by the DSWD, DOH, DECS, CHED, TESDA, DOLE, NHA and DILG, in coordination with local government units and a nongovernmental organization with proven track record in providing services for solo parents.
I would like to underscore the role of our local government in the implementation of RA 8972 for the benefit of the eligible solo parents in Davao City.
Section 5 further states the following:
The DSWD shall coordinate with concerned agencies the implementation of the comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families. The package will initially include:
(a) Livelihood development services which include trainings on livelihood skills, basic business management, value orientation and the provision of seed capital or job placement.
(b) Counseling services which include individual, peer group or family counseling. This will focus on the resolution of personal relationship and role conflicts.
(c) Parent effectiveness services which include the provision and expansion of knowledge and skills of the solo parent on early childhood development, behavior management, health care, rights and duties of parents and children.
(d) Critical incidence stress debriefing which includes preventive stress management strategy designed to assist solo parents in coping with crisis situations and cases of abuse.
(e) Special projects for individuals in need of protection which include temporary shelter, counseling, legal assistance, medical care, self-concept or ego-building, crisis management and spiritual enrichment.
Sections 7 – 11 further extends the benefits and privileges of eligible solo parents against work discrimination, for parental leaves, educational benefits, housing benefits, and medical assistance.
The Approved Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 8972 provides for the Application Process and specific benefits for eligible solo parents. The IRR was approved in 2002.
Eight years after, there is little information regarding RA 8972. Very few solo parents are registered and have availed of their benefits and privileges. As per Section 5, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other concerned agencies will work in coordination with local government units.
I believe that the Davao City Government and the City Council should take a more active part in the implementation of RA 8972 and in the dissemination of information regarding this.
I would like to refer this matter to the Committee on Social Services led by Chairman Tomas Monteverde IV and the Committee on Women, Children and Family Relations led by Chairwoman Maria Lea Librado, and other concerned committees.
I believe that this is an urgent matter that the city government should legislate and implement.