“The pandemic shines a light on what solo parents – like myself – already intimately know: that raising a child as a solo parent is infinitely harder in every conceivable aspect than raising a child as a two-parent household.”
This was the sentiment of Senator Risa Hontiveros, Chair of the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, today during her sponsorship speech urging the immediate passage of the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act.
“Financial hardships are common among two-income families. The challenge is even more difficult for a solo parent who is forced to rely on one income stream, especially now,” she said. “Considering that there are approximately 3 million solo parent households, this means that there are almost 3 million families that are in danger of not being able to fulfill their daily needs.”
According to the Senator, the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2020, or SB 1411, will include a 20% discount on medical needs of the child, the child’s basic necessities, diapers until age 3, hospital bills of both the solo parent and the child, and the child’s tuition fees from kindergarten until college.
Hontiveros’ bill will also entitle solo parents to an additional 7 day parental leave, on top of leave privileges under existing laws. It also mandates government and private companies with more than 300 employees to create daycare facilities.
The Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Bill also seeks to expand the definition of solo parents to include spouses of low-income overseas Filipino workers who are away from the Philippines for an unbroken period of twelve (12) months.
The Senator said the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act or SB1411 is even more relevant now, given the amplification of unique hardships experienced by solo parents during the pandemic. She said balancing livelihood and childcare for solo parents is now “exponentially harder.”
“Bukod sa pag-aalala kung saan sila kukuha ng pangtustos sa pang-araw araw nilang pangangailangan, kailangan din nilang isipin kung sino ang pwedeng takbuhan ng kanilang mga anak kung sakaling sila ay magkasakit o di kaya ay magpositibo sa COVID. Saan sila kukuha ng pangbili ng pagkain? Sino na ang mag-aalaga sa kanilang mga anak?” Hontiveros said.
“We will be facing a lot of changes as we transition out of this quarantine. Our solo parents need a ‘new normal’ that includes them. No one should get left behind,” she concluded./Stacy Ang