MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo has directed all field offices of the department to be ready to help mothers who are seeking child support from the fathers of their children.

Tulfo said this in line with Article 195 of the Family Code which stresses that parents are legally required to support their children.

Article 194 of the Family Code also provides that “support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.”

Linawin ko lang po na hindi ko naman sinabi na kakasuhan namin agad ang hindi nagbibigay ng child support. Nasa batas po kasi natin, matik sa batas na kailangang suportahan ang bata. Maaring pinansiyal, o pag-aralin mo. Ang sinasabi ko, kung may trabaho at usually malalaman natin yan sa misis kung may trabaho (I just want to clarify that I did not say we will immediately file a case against those who will not give child support. The law mandates that child support be automatically given, it may be financial or the fathers send the child to school. What I want to say is that if the father has work or source of livelihood, and we usually get that information from the mothers, then, he should provide support),” Tulfo said in a news release.

According to Article 201 of the Family Code, “The amount of support…shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient.”

He also urged mothers to bring their concerns to the DSWD, saying the mothers can ask help from the DSWD to seek support from the father.

As provided in Article 203 of the Family Code, “The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the person who has a right to receive the same needs if not for maintenance, but it shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand.”

The same provision adds, “payment shall be made within the first five days of each corresponding month or when the recipient dies, his heirs shall not be obliged to return what he has received in advance.”

“Pwede po kayong lumapit sa amin sa DSWD, kung may mga tatay na ayaw magsustento sa mga anak nila, provided na yung tatay ay may trabaho o may kinikita. Susulatan po namin, magdedemand kami na sustentuhan niya yung anak niya. Otherwise, ipapasa po namin ito sa korte, bahala na po ang Public Attorney’s Office (PAO). Tutulungan din po natin na ilapit sa IBP para magsampa ng kaso (You may reach out to us at the DSWD if there are fathers who refuse to give child support even if they have sources of income. We [DSWD] will write to demand that they provide child support. Otherwise, we will submit it to the court and let the Public Attorney’s Office handle it. The IBP [Integrated Bar of the Philippines] can also help us file a case),” Tulfo said.

Best interest of the child in custody issues

Tulfo added that the DSWD can also help mothers with issues of child custody.

He said Article 213 of the Family Code emphasizes the child’s best interest on matters of custody and the court shall consider the best interest of the child/children in designating a parent who shall have parental authority.

Further, it was discussed under Article 363 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines that “in all questions on the care, custody, education and property of children, the latter’s welfare shall be paramount. No mother shall be separated from her child under seven years of age unless the court finds compelling reasons for such a measure.”

Under Article 165 of the Family Code, a child is considered illegitimate if the child is born out of wedlock, and in relation to Article 176 of The Family Code, the parental authority and custody of such child shall fall on the mother. This means that single mothers have the sole parental authority over her child.

Tulfo added that DSWD will exhaust all means to help mothers, directing all DSWD field offices to already set a day or two in the week to serve the mothers approaching them for help.

In light of the recent enactment of Republic Act No. 11861 or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act, the Department is also expected to work in assisting solo parents acquire the benefits due them based on the new law. (PR)