The Department of Social Welfare and Development, through its Family Welfare Sector, celebrated Solo Parents Week and encouraged people to register for the Solo Parents Identification Card (SPIC) at their respective local government units.

Solo Parent Focal Person Daisy C. Lor together with LGU representatives during the presentation of local initiatives in relation to the implementation of RA 11861.

Single parents may avail of the privileges and benefits available to them under the new law, Republic Act 11861 or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2022, which aims to enhance both national and local efforts for the sector.

According to data, there are 23,672 registered solo parents in Central Visayas (as of January 2024), with 20,479 females and 3,188 males.

In the new law, a solo parent may be defined as a legal guardian, adoptive or foster parent who solely provides parental care and support to a child. A child must be at least 22 years old and below, living with and dependent on them.

However, a solo parent must not engage in cohabitation or co-parenting with another person unless their spouse is incapacitated and unable to fulfill their responsiveness to child care and support.

The new law provides solo parents with additional support such as parental leave of not more than seven (7) days every year, in addition to leave privileges under existing laws. It also grants special privileges such as telecommuting, flexible work schedules, and child minding centers in their workplaces.

Solo parents and their children may avail of the educational programs from other agencies: a) scholarship programs for the solo parent; b) full scholarship grants for one (1) child for basic and higher education; and c) technical vocational skills.

They are automatically covered under the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) of Philhealth and also given priority to government housing projects.

On top of the 10% discount and VAT-exempt on goods for children up to six years of age, the law entitles a solo parent earning minimum wage and below to a monthly cash subsidy of Php 1,000 from the LGU.

According to Family Welfare Sector Focal Person Daisy C. Lor, some of the LGUs may not yet implement the monthly subsidy, but it is expected that all LGUs must comply with it by 2025. “Right now, we are encouraging LGUs to strengthen their advocacies on encouraging solo parents to register so that they can be accounted for in the database or registry of solo parents while they implement other activities deemed beneficial to the sector,” she said.

SPIC is valid for one (1) year and issued within seven (7) days from receipt of complete requirements by local social welfare and development offices.

Localized programs for solo parents

During the solo parent’s day, DSWD 7 gathered LGUs from Cebu: Mandaue City, Talisay City, Lapu-Lapu City, Danao City, and Liloan; and Negros Oriental: cities of Bais, Bayawan, and Canlaon to present their local initiatives for solo parents.

It highlights LGU roles in recognizing the significance of solo parents by localizing programs and services, strengthening local registry, and institutionalizing the law.

Regional Director Shalaine Marie S. Lucero, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Ahong Chan, and Undersecretary Eduardo M. Punay signed the Memorandum of Agreement for the program SOLo in Lapu-Lapu City on Feb 15, 2024.

For instance, Lapu-Lapu City has enacted an ordinance that gives Php 1,000 monthly cash subsidy. It also provides capacity-building activities and leadership training to both solo parents and barangay presidents.

Other government agencies were tapped to provide financial, rice, and livelihood assistance to accommodate others who could not receive the subsidy.

Orientations for the new law in barangays every Thursday were conducted and elected a set of officers that convene monthly (for barangay officers) and quarterly (for barangay presidents); these are beneficial to the regular house-to-house validation of solo parents initiated by them.

Wellness programs and livelihood skills training are developed, while outreach activities such as feeding and coastal clean-up drives for disadvantaged communities are engaged by the sector.

With these initiatives, LLC piloted the newest project of DSWD called Strengthening Opportunities for Lone (SOLo) Parents Program, a program that provides psychosocial interventions to ensure emotional support, alternative care arrangements for dependents and counter discrimination in order to help solo-parent families enjoy a strong, comfortable, and peaceful life. ###

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