Being a parent is one thing; being a solo parent is another. People who are taking care of their children all by themselves have to play multiple roles all at once. Since the demands of being a solo parent are exhausting—physically, mentally, and emotionally—they will need all the help they can get.
And who’s better suited to aid parents who fly solo in their plight than the government? With this in mind, what are the steps undertaken by the government to make sure that solo parents can get the support that they need?
Introducing Republic Act 8972
Fortunately, there is a way that the government aids single parents to make sure that they are never alone in their struggles of being the sole provider for their children. This comes in the form of Republic Act 8092, or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000.
Made into a law under the term of former President Joseph Estrada, it gives the government the power to provide comprehensive programs, services, and other benefits for solo parents and their children.
Who solo parents are, according to law
To become eligible for the benefits of RA 8972, you need to prove the government that you are indeed the sole provider for your children. As defined by the law, the solo parents are the following:
- A woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity even without a final conviction of the offender, provided that mother keeps and raises the child.
- Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to the following circumstances:
- Due to death of a spouse.
- Spouse is detained or is serving a sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year.
- Physical and/or mental incapacity of a spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner.
- Legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one (1) year, as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children.
- Declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children.
- Unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear her/his child/children instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution.
- Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children.
- Any family member who assumes the responsibility of the head of the family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent.
How can you receive the benefits of Solo Parents’ Act?
Under the Solo Parents’ Act, people who are eligible for the said benefits should get a Solo Parent ID to be able to claim what they’re entitled to. To get a Solo Parent’s ID, one should present the following documents to their local Social Welfare and Development Office:
- A Barangay Certification certifying Solo Parent’s residency in the barangay for the last six months
- Certificates, e.g., birth certificates of children, death certificate of spouse and other appropriate documentary support
- Income tax return or any document that will establish the income level of the solo parent
Once the social workers have received and verified the documents you presented, you will be given a case number in the log book of Registry of Solo Parents. Once it’s completed, they will give you a solo parent’s ID, which is valid for a year and renewable.
What are the benefits of solo parents under RA 8972?
With the help of Solo Parents’ Act, people who are solely taking care of their children can reap the following benefits provided by the government:
- Social development and welfare package from the Department of Social Welfare and Development
- Livelihood training
- Counseling programs
- Parent effectiveness training
- Critical incidence stress debriefing
- Special projects for individuals such as “temporary shelter, counseling, legal assistance, medical care, self-concept or ego-building, crisis management and spiritual enrichment.”
- Flexible work schedule
- Protection against work discrimination
- Parental leave of up to seven days
- Educational benefits courtesy of DepEd, CHED, and TESDA
- Housing benefits
- Medical assistance
Solo parenting may be a daunting task, most especially when you have to make sure that your child will grow up to be a wonderful person even if it means exerting twice the effort they need to. With the help of Solo Parents’ Act, the government can at least alleviate some of the problems faced by single parents in the country.