(Photo courtesy of DSWD)

MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin Tulfo ordered the fast-tracking of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act so beneficiaries can immediately enjoy their privileges.

A technical working group (TWG) has been formed to draft the IRR for Republic Act 11861 which grants solo parents financial, educational, and housing benefits to help them ease the load of rearing a child alone.

"The new law will be of great help to solo parents, especially that they are raising their children single-handedly," Tulfo said in a statement on Tuesday.

The expanded law will entitle solo parents earning a minimum wage or lower to a monthly cash subsidy of PHP1,000 from the local government unit, provided that the solo parent is not a beneficiary of any other cash assistance program.

The beneficiary will also have 10-percent discount and exemption from the value-added tax on the child’s milk, food, micronutrient supplements, sanitary diapers, duly prescribed medicines, vaccines, and other medical supplements from birth until the child is six years of age.

The solo parent will be prioritized in low-cost housing projects through the National Housing Authority with liberal terms of payment and will be provided with automatic coverage by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

Moreover, the solo parent can access scholarship programs through the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, or Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, subject to eligibility and criteria qualifications.

A child of the solo parent may also qualify for a full scholarship program until age 21.

The new law stipulates the prioritization of solo parents, particularly the solo mothers, in re-entering the workforce, and their children, as applicable, in apprenticeship, livelihood training, among others.

The DSWD is tasked to spearhead the creation of a Comprehensive Package of Social Protection Services in coordination with other national government agencies.

Further, a solo parent with child or children in school will be a priority in the selection of new beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program if the income is within or below minimum wage.  

The solo parent may likewise apply for livelihood assistance under the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the DSWD.

At the House of Representatives, PBA party-list Rep. Margarita Nograles filed the Single Persons’ Welfare Act for single persons who are family breadwinners.

The bill defines a single individual as a person who is not legally married or whose previous marriage was annulled or declared void.

It also covers a person who exercises custody or provides financial support to minors not his or her child.

The dependents are minor siblings, minor nephews or nieces, unemployed parents and relatives, and ascendants up to the fourth degree of consanguinity who have disabilities.

However, single individuals who fall under the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act are not covered by the bill.

"Some single or unmarried individuals likewise provide financial support to the children of their siblings, or serve as guardians in cases where their siblings are abroad or are financially incapable of supporting their own children,” Nograles said in a previous statement. (PNA)