Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte is looking forward to the immediate and full implementation of the new law granting additional benefits to solo parents.
Villafuerte, who co-authored the Expanded Solo Parents Act (RA 11861) that lapsed into law last June, expressed hope the needed funds for the P1,000 monthly pension for indigent solo parents would be included in the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) that will be submitted to Congress on Monday, August 22.
“We are looking forward to the immediate and full release of this monthly pension to low-income solo parents plus the application or provision of other benefits due them and all other Filipinos who have single-handedly been raising their children,” said Villafuerte, vice president for political affairs of National Unity Party.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin Tulfo announced last week the creation of a technical working group to draw up the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 11861.
The new law directs the DSWD Secretary, in consultation with the members of the would-be Inter-Agency Coordinating and Monitoring Committee (IACMC), to issue the necessary IRR for the effective implementation of RA 11861 within 90 days after its enactment.
The DSWD Secretary will chair the IACMC while the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will be the vice chairman, and 16 other heads of different agencies, institutions, and sectors will be the members.
Villafuerte said the new subsidy program for solo parents will be timely considering that a number of solo parents were likely part of last year’s list of Filipinos who lived below the poverty line.
Under the law, single parents earning the minimum wage or below are entitled to a P1,000 monthly pension from their local government units (LGUs), provided that they receive no other cash assistance program from the government.
Solo parents are also entitled to a 10% discount and exemption from the value-added tax (VAT) on baby’s milk and sanitary diapers; food and micronutrient supplements; duly prescribed medicines, vaccines, and other medical supplements from the birth of the child until he or she is six years old.
The DSWD, in coordination with the DILG, is also mandated to immediately establish and maintain a centralized database of all solo parents who are to be issued Solo Parent Identification Cards (SPICs) and booklets by the LGUs.
“The expanded protection and promotion of the welfare of solo parents and their children under RA 11861 further concretizes the government’s commitment to the constitutional provision for the State to recognize the sanctity of family life and protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution,” the solon added.
Villafuerte said, “a more comprehensive package of social welfare services and development initiatives for solo parents will help the Marcos government further ease their burden in rearing their children towards becoming productive citizens.”