Press Release
December 13, 2021

Senate passes Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Bill

The Senate approved on third and final reading Monday, December 13, 2021, a bill seeking to expand social protection for solo parents.

Voting 22-0-0, senators passed Senate Bill No. 1411, which proposes to amend Republic Act No. 8972, or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000, to expand its benefits and coverage.

"The Senate has come together to lift up an invisible and marginalized segment of our population, the solo parents," said Sen. Risa Hontiveros, a single mother herself, as she manifested her elation over the passage of the bill she sponsored as chairperson of the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality.

SBN 1411 or the proposed Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act pushes a comprehensive package of social protection for solo parents, which includes livelihood opportunities, legal advice and assistance, counseling services, parent effectiveness services, and stress debriefing, among others, regardless of financial status.

Indigent solo parents shall be given a monthly cash subsidy of P1,000 by their local government units.

The bill also ensures the grant of scholarships and grants for solo parents and their children in basic, higher and technical/vocational education and training as well as automatic coverage under the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). Solo parents shall also be given preference in government housing projects.

On top of leave privileges under existing laws, solo parents working in the government and the private sector would also be granted an additional seven-day parental leave with pay and be given priority in telecommuting arrangements with their employers.

The bill also expands the definition of "solo parents" to include spouses or any family member of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are in the low/semi-skilled category and are away from the Philippines for an unbroken period of 12 months. An amendment also includes grandparents and family members or qualified guardians who bear sole responsibility over the child.

SBN 1411, on the other hand, places safeguards against abuse, stating that the absence of a valid and legal marriage between a mother and father of a child does not automatically entitle either individuals to benefits under the proposed law.

Before the bill's approval, Hontiveros said last week that the amendments to the measure included requiring the submission of a sworn affidavit declaring that the solo parent is not co-habiting with a partner or co-parent, and has the custody and bears the sole parental responsibility over the child or children. An identification card shall be issued to solo parents.

"Habang may pandemya, mas lalong mahalagang mapabilis pa ang pagsabatas nito. Naging mahirap ang pagtulak sa Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act, pero saksi ako sa tiyaga ng mga solo parents sa pagkampanya para sa pagpasa nito, kaya't lubos ang aking pasasalamat dahil hindi kami bumitaw sa laban (The passage of this bill is made more urgent by the pandemic. Pushing for the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act had not been easy, but I have been a witness to the hard work of solo parents who rallied for its approval, and I am grateful that they didn't give up)," Hontiveros said, thanking her colleagues and government agencies involved in crafting the bill.

News Latest News Feed