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Philippines expands initiatives to support growing solo parent population

Philippines expands initiatives to support growing solo parent population

The Philippine government, recognizing the challenges faced by single parents, particularly women, provides support through Program SOLo, offering financial aid, emotional support, and community-based services to empower solo-parent families.

PHILIPPINES – A new study by the Department of Health (DOH) and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health has revealed that the Philippines has nearly 15 million single parents, of which 95 percent are women. 

Acknowledging solo parents' unique challenges, the Philippine government has expanded initiatives to alleviate their burdens.

The Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2022 (Republic Act 11861) serves as the overarching legal framework, providing solo parents who earn below the minimum wage with a monthly allowance of 1,000 pesos and VAT exemption and discounts on essential purchases for their children under six years old. It also mandates seven days of paid parental leave and automatic PhilHealth coverage.

National government initiatives such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and the Sustainable Livelihood Program offer further aid to underprivileged solo-parent beneficiaries. These programs prioritize poverty alleviation through conditional cash transfers and livelihood projects. Housing assistance is also available through subsidized rentals or inclusion in resettlement programs.

At the local level, cities and municipalities enact ordinances granting additional benefits such as discounts on local fees, scholarships for higher education, and subsidized daycare services. Support groups are organized for counselling and peer empowerment, aligning with specific community needs.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) introduced the "Strengthening Opportunities for Lone Parents" or Program SOLo, which is designed to provide emotional support and alternative care arrangements for single-parent households. Program SOLo aims to challenge and eradicate cultural barriers, including stigma and discrimination, to create a more inclusive and compassionate environment for solo-parent families.

DSWD Undersecretary Edu Punay emphasized that Program SOLo represents the agency's commitment to the well-being of single parents, aiming to empower them to fulfil their duties as committed parents. The program's pilot testing has begun in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, with future implementations planned in Anda, Pangasinan, and Panabo City, Davao del Norte. —iTacloban (Source: PIA)

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