Bill eyes mandatory support for parents

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A penalty for children who will abandon their parents who can no longer fend for themselves has been proposed in the House of Representatives.

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Rep. Roy Loyola of Cavite made the pitch under his House Bill (HB) 5336 or the Parents Welfare Act of 2014, which mandates children to provide their old and sick parents support for sustenance, clothing, residence medical attendance and other amenities that would enable them to lead a normal life.

Should the children fail to provide their parents such for three consecutive months without justifiable cause, they will face imprisonment of one to six months on top of a P100,000 fine.

Also, the person who will deliberately leave his or her parents in a certain place with the aim of abandoning them will be meted six to 10 years in jail on top of a P300,000 fine.

“The sights of abandoned elderly in the streets have become common because children failed to provide the necessary support to their old and sick parents. This happens despite our moral and natural obligation to support our parents who are in need of our help,” Loyola said.

He argued that it is enshrined in the country’s Family Code that children should support the elderly.

“While there is a Senior Citizens Act, taking care of the elderly is a shared responsibility of the government and the children of the elderly,” Loyola said.

HB 5336 defines a parent in need of support as someone who is unable to sustain himself/herself from his/her own earning or out of the property owned by him/her or who is incapacitated or otherwise incapable of supporting himself/herself.

If the parent concerned has several children, the support to be given will be divided among the children in proportion to their resources or financial capacity and in such manner as may be just and equitable.

If the children could not fulfill their duty to support their parents because of illness or mental condition, then the grandchildren will be held liable to support their ascendants.

A petition for support may be filed with the regional trial court with territorial jurisdiction over the place of residence of the petitioner or before a family court that exists in the place of the residence of the petitioner.

The petition of support may be filed by the parent in need of support; children of the parent in need of support against those who do not provide/contribute for the support of the former; or ascendants, descendants or collateral relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.

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