DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo (File photo)

MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin Tulfo on Monday said the agency is absolutely prepared to put into action the newly signed Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act.

Tulfo, however, said they need a few days more before it becomes fully operational.

“We have to give like about 15 to 30 days dahil ipa-publish pa ito sa mga pahayagan, sa media, bago ito maging fully operational (because the IRR has to be published in the newspapers, media, before it becomes fully operational),” Tulfo said.

He said business establishments should start complying with the mandates stated in the IRR entitling the solo parents to receive certain discounts from them once the law becomes operational.

DSWD chairs the Inter-Agency Coordinating and Monitoring Committee (IACMC) with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as the vice chair.

Other agencies that have shown full support to the body, among others, are the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), National Housing Authority (NHA), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Technological Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC).

Tulfo said the Expanded Solo Parents Act provides solo parents a lot of benefits aside from receiving PHP1,000 in cash as financial assistance from local government units (LGUs).

“They have 20 percent discount for hospitalization, along with their children. Their infant supplies (milks and diapers) are VAT-free, 15 percent discounts for schools and educational supplies, and 20 percent discounts on amusements or theme parks, like playgrounds,” he said.

He also said solo parents are given priorities in their job applications and if there are free housing allocations available, they are also given the same priority.

“They can also avail full scholarship grant for one of their children. So, these solo parents really get several benefits because of this Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act,” he added.

For mothers whose children are abandoned by their respective fathers, the DSWD has also prepared important assistance to them.

Tulfo said these mothers can go to his office to complain and with the memorandum of agreement signed last week between DSWD and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO)), these erring fathers are easily pursued and obliged to face their responsibilities or face legal action in court.

Fathers who refuse to give support for their children can be simply charged for violation of Family Code of the Philippines, or for violation of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004.

In relation to this, Tulfo expressed his gratitude to PAO Chief Atty. Persida R. Acosta for permanently deploying two PAO lawyers in DSWD to address and entertain complaints of the abandoned mothers.

“Pinapaalalahanan lang natin iyong mga bastardong ama na pwede na natin silang kasuhan… at hindi lang po sa Central Office, pati po sa Regional Office. Hinihikayat po natin ang mga ina dyan na may reklamo (We remind irresponsible fathers that we can sue them.. not only in Central Office, but in our regional office. We urged mothers who have complaints),” Tulfo said. (PNA)