Press Release
August 20, 2010

Legarda Bill Imposes Stiffer Penalties
To Persons Who Abandons A Minor Child In His/Her Custody

Senator Loren Legarda filed Senate Bill No. 1433 proposing a fine of one hundred thousand pesos and a penalty of prision correcional in its minimum period to anyone who abandons a minor child in his or her custody.

"If the child dies and or because of the parent is in a dangerous circumstance or situation, he or she shall be punished by prision correcional in its medium period to prision mayor in its maximum period.

The Legarda bill also stipulates that - "Any parent who shall give his unemancipated child corrupting orders, counsel or example shall be punished by arresto mayor in its maximum period and a fine of at least P50,000 but not more than P100,000. This shall include cases which have resulted from culpable negligence of the parent."

"Senate Bill No. 1433 is providing stiffer penalties for the delinquent parents by imposing longer years of imprisonment and higher amount of fines than what is presently provided under the Revised Penal Code to eliminate, the cases of neglected and abused children in this country."

Legarda said under the Family Code, parental authority and responsibility includes the caring for and rearing of their children for civic consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral, mental and physical character and well-being.

"Parental authority and responsibility cannot be renounced or transferred, except in cases authorized by law."

Parents and those exercising parental authority have according to Legarda the following rights and duties:

a. To keep them in their company, to support, educate and instruct them by right precept and good example, and to provide for their upbringing in keeping with their means;

b. To give them love and affection, advice and counsel, companionship and understanding;

c. To provide them with moral and spiritual guidance, inculcate in them honesty, integrity, self-discipline, self-reliance, industry and thrift, stimulate their interest in civic affairs, and inspire in them compliance with the duties of citizenship;

d. To enhance, protect, preserve and maintain their physical and mental health at all times;

e. To furnish them with good and wholesome educational materials, supervise their activities, recreation and association with others, protect them from bad company, and preserve them from acquiring habits detrimental to their health, studies and morals;

f. To represent them in all matters affecting their interests;

g. To impose discipline on them as may be required under the circumstances; and

h. To perform such other duties as are imposed by law upon parents and guardians.

"Given the crucial role that parents have in the upbringing of a child, it is considered a criminal act for a person entrusted with the custody of a minor to abandon him or her and for parents to neglect their children especially by not giving them the education which their station in life require, " Legarda concluded.

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