• Arroyo seeks faster aid, flexible work hours for solo parents

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    DEPUTY House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has filed a bill seeking to cut the waiting time for a solo parent to become entitled to legal benefits under the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000, to six months from one year.

    House Bill 1520 seeks to amend the Solo Parents Welfare Act, which grants benefits such as livelihood, housing, medical and educational support to a parent who bears the sole and lone parenting duty after the other spouse has abandoned the family or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction.

    The former president, now Pampanga representative, also proposed to consider as a solo parent a person whose spouse has not been employed or has suffered from a disability for at least six months.

    “The Solo Parents Act breathed life to the Constitution’s mandate that ‘the State shall promote the family as the foundation of the nation, strengthen its solidarity and ensure its total development.’ The present bill seeks to expand the coverage and benefits given to solo parents,” Arroyo said in her bill’s explanatory note.

    Other amendments proposed by the former president include: flexible work schedule without affecting core hours as defined by the employer; 10 percent discount on children’s clothing materials; 15 percent discount on infant milk and food supplements purchased within two years from the birth of the child; and 15 percent discount on all purchases of medicines and other medical supplements or supplies used by the child aged five years old and below.

    Solo parents who wish to avail themselves of the law’s benefits need to secure an identification card from the local chief executive where he or she resides upon submission of documents as determined by the Inter-Agency Coordinating and Monitoring Committee to be headed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
    Under the bill, violators will be penalized with a fine ranging from P10,000 to P200,000 and/or imprisonment of six months to two years.

    Those who commit misrepresentation or falsification of documents to avail themselves of the benefits under the law will be penalized with fine of not more P50,000 and/or imprisonment of not less than six months.

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