MANILA – Being part of a broken family is difficult for a child, more so for a mother who is left alone to raise, support, and care for him.
In the Philippines, there are at least 14 to 15 million solo parents recorded, according to a study by the Department of Health and the University of the Philippines-National Institute, funded by the World Health Organization.
Ninety-five percent of this population are women, and many of them are alone in raising their children.
Over the years, these single mothers continue to demand support from the fathers of their children, believing that even after separation, their former partners must stay as parents to their children and will never be remiss in fulfilling their obligations.
This is the principle behind House Bill 4807 or the Child Support Responsibility Act, authored by Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, which seeks to punish “deadbeat” parents who intentionally and continuously fail to support their children.
Duterte said “deadbeat” parents shall be meted with two to four years imprisonment and must be fined a minimum of PHP100,000 to a maximum of PHP300,000.
First-time offenders may be granted probation, but when they habitually fail to give support, they must face harsher penalties.
Jesserie Pagatuan, a solo parent to three children, said separated parents must continue to perform their duties of raising and supporting their offspring.
“Sa ngayon po kasi, maraming hindi nagsusuporta sa anak nila. Anak lang sila nang anak. Hindi na nila nagagampanan yung obligasyon bilang ina o ama, sa mga anak nila. Syempre, kawawa yung mga bata. ‘Pag ganoon, kung hindi naman kaya talaga, huwag na lang sigurong bumuo ng pamilya or hangga’t maaga, isipin na lang muna nila bago sila bumuo ng isang pamilya. Kung hindi pa handa, ‘wag na. (Right now, there are many people who do not support their children. They no longer fulfill their obligations as mothers or fathers to their children. And the children are the ones who suffer. In that case, if it’s really not possible, maybe don’t start a family or think first before starting a family. If not ready, don’t be.),” Pagatuan said.
Thirty-five-year-old Jessa Garcia, who is also a single mother, agreed with the proposed bill that will penalize those who are irresponsible.
“Agree po ako doon, sa mga hindi nagsusuporta dapat lang silang makulong at mamultahan para ma-obliga. Kapag hindi kasi inobliga, wala talaga. Para hindi naman kami kawawang mga mother na kami lahat nagsasacrifice sa anak namin tapos walang suporta galing sa tatay, (I agree with that, for those who do not support their children, they should be imprisoned and fined. When you don’t oblige them, they really won’t give. It’s unfair to us, mothers, who do all the sacrificing, then there’s no support from the fathers),” Garcia said.
Meanwhile, Maria Fe Pasaporte, 36, said while she supports the proposal, estranged parents should still try to work out their relationship for the welfare of their children.
“Sumasang-ayon po ako sa ganoong batas po, kasi kawawa po yung mga bata kung sakaling iwanan ng magulang eh. Para po sa mga magulang na ganon po,sana isipin po nila yung kapakanan ng bata, yung kinabukasan po ng mga anak nila. Para hindi po kawawa yung mga bata pagdating ng araw (I agree with the proposal, because it's the children who will suffer if their parents leave them. For those parents who leave their children, I hope they will think about their welfare, their future, so they don’t end up miserable),” Pasaporte said.
Allan Dela Cruz, 27, believed that it is high time for the government to come up with a law that would oblige parents not to neglect their children.
In September, the Department of Social Welfare and Development signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11861 or the Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Act.
RA 11861 which amended RA 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000, promotes the rights of Filipino solo parents and ensures that they can receive adequate social protection programs from the government. (PNA)