“I am a solo parent. How do I help my kids?” – We could all, at one point, facing this question. What are the rights concerning illegitimate children and child support in the Philippines and what options do single parents have?
There are a lot of solo parents in the Philippines who decided to be responsible enough to take care and raise their children. These kids we commonly refer to as illegitimate children are either born out of wedlock or out of nonconsensual fornication. Nevertheless, the parents who decide to keep them usually support them alone. This means total detachment from the other parent even when the Philippines has laws on child support.
The problem with being a single parent is that the income is almost always not enough. In the Philippines, depending on where you are, the income can start at as low as Php 6, 000 or around USD 120 in a month which is obviously not enough. And as mentioned, though there are laws, they are not strictly followed because most of us lack awareness and would rather use the money for child support than on lawsuits. But if one has a Solo Parent ID, they could be entitled to certain benefits and privileges.
What is the Solo Parent’s Welfare Act
According to the Solo Parent’s Welfare Act, solo parents are persons who fall under the following categories:
1. A woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity even without a final conviction of the offender, provided that mother keeps and raises the child.
2. Parents left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to the following circumstances:
a. Due to death of the spouse.
b. Spouse is detained or is serving a sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year.
c. Physical and/or mental incapacity of the spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner.
d. Legal separation or de facto separation from the spouse for at least one (1) year, as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children.
e. Declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children.
3. Unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear her/his child/children instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution.
4. Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children.
5. Any family member who assumes the responsibility as the head of the family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent.
What are the Privileges?
If the income falls below the poverty threshold, and upon the assessment of a DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) social worker, a single parent may be given support in the area of education, health, and housing. Moreover, when it comes to employment, they are allowed flexible work schedules and parental leaves.
A single parent may apply for a Solo Parent Id at the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (C/MSW) and course the assistance they need from different agencies through this office, too.
Child Support in the Philippines: Requirement for Application
There are three things a single parent needs: a barangay certificate, an Income Tax Return or certification issued by the Barangay or by the Municipal Secretary (smallest unit of government in the Philippines), and any documents that the applicant is a solo parent. But the applicant must also secure a certification from the Barangay Captain that she has illegitimate children in his or her custody. However, it must be noted that the ID cannot be issued right away. It will be issued within 30 days with one-year validity and is renewable.
Illegitimate Children: What if the Parent is Abroad?
Another question is can this be applied to a parent whose spouse is abroad? The answer is it depends. If the other spouse still exercises duties, then this cannot be considered. However, if the family lost contact for more than a year, then the other parent can be considered for this privilege.
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