Press Release
December 15, 2021

Expanded Solo Parents Bill passed in the Senate as Bong Go highlights commitment to promote welfare of solo parents, children, and other vulnerable groups

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go expressed his support and gratitude to fellow legislators following the passage on the third and final reading in the Senate of a bill which aims to provide additional benefits to at least 14 million Filipino solo parents.

On Monday, December 13, senators voted 22-0-0 in favor of Senate Bill No. 1411, which would increase the benefits currently provided to solo parents under Republic Act 8972 or the "Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000".

Understanding the hardships faced by solo parents in raising their families, Go has always been firm in supporting the expansion of benefits under RA 8972. He earlier served as co-sponsor to fellow senators for SBN 1411 to provide monthly cash subsidies, automatic health insurance coverage and other additional benefits to Filipino solo parents.

The said bill takes into consideration an earlier measure filed by Go and other similar measures by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senators Richard Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Ramon Revilla, Jr. and Imee Marcos.

"Solo parents are both the breadwinners and caregivers of their families, and they should be acknowledged appropriately. As the law now stands, the privileges and benefits granted to them should be sufficiently increased in recognition and understanding of the complexity of their needs," said Go.

"The enhancements that we have introduced to the Solo Parents' Welfare Act aim to provide redress for some 14 million solo parents. They will infuse more benefits and privileges to the solo parent which will ease the burden of single-handedly raising his or her children," he added.

The measure introduces amendments to RA 8972 with the overarching objective of making it easier for single-parent households to access the critical relief they need. It specifically reduces the period before someone can be considered a solo parent due to abandonment from one year to six months. It also entitles elderly grandparents who have sole parental responsibility over minors would to the benefits given to solo parents.

If signed into law, any solo parent whose income falls below the poverty threshold as set by the Philippine Statistics Authority and subject to the assessment of the local social welfare and development officer in the area shall be eligible for additional financial assistance reserved for the poor and indigent solo parents.

Each indigent solo parent shall also be entitled to a cash subsidy amounting to P1,000 per month.

Meanwhile, a comprehensive package of social protection services will be provided to each parent, regardless of their income bracket. The package will consist of counseling, legal assistance, medical care, livelihood development services and temporary shelter.

Furthermore, single-parent households will be given preference in government low-cost housing projects and will be offered relaxed terms of payments. On the other hand, the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority will be directed to provide scholarships or grants to qualified children of the solo parents in institutions of basic, higher and technical/vocational education and training.

Finally, solo parents working in the government or private sector will be qualified to a seven-day parental leave with pay per year.

"I am pushing for these amendments to the existing law to cater to as many solo parents as possible in order to help them build a stronger family despite their situation and support them as productive members of society," Go explained.

"Responsibilidad natin ang siguraduhin na may sapat na proteksyon tayong ibinibigay sa mga solo parents na kabilang sa mga vulnerable sectors ng ating lipunan," he further stressed.

There are currently an estimated 14 to 15 million solo parents in the Philippines, 95% of whom are women, according to a World Health Organization-funded study by the Department of Health and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health.

A separate study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies also revealed that eight in every 20 women are in vulnerable employment positions.

In light of the adverse economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Go has also conducted various aid distribution initiatives to provide single-parent households the assistance they need to overcome the pandemic and other crisis situations.

His team has assisted solo parents in Batuan and Duero, Bohol; Pandi, Bulacan; Tabogon, Cebu; Lupon, Davao Oriental; Burauen, Jaro, Javier, Kananga, Mayorga, Merida, Palompon, Pastrana, Santa Fe and Tacloban City, Leyte; Buluan, Maguindanao; Medina and Villanueva, Misamis Oriental; Llanera, Nueva Ecija; Santa Ana and San Fernando City, Pampanga; Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro; Culion, Busuanga and Puerto Princesa City, Palawan; Pintuyan, Southern Leyte; Olongapo, Zambales; General Santos City; and Zamboanga City, among others, in the past year.

"Patuloy tayong magmalasakit sa isa't isa at magbayanihan upang masigurong walang maiiwan sa ating muling pag-ahon mula sa pandemya at anumang krisis na darating," he emphasized.

Senate Bill No. 1411 is sponsored by Senator Risa Hontiveros and co-authored by Senators Sotto, Go, Gordon, Marcos, Pia Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima and Joel Villanueva. It is also co-sponsored by Senators Go, Gordon, Revilla and Zubiri. The bill will now go before the bicameral conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions.

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