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Revised ordinance grants more perks for solo parents

NAGA CITY --- More benefits await solo parents in Naga City with the approval of the Revised Solo Parents’ Ordinance by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Naga last May 16. Authored by Vice Mayor Nelson S. Legacion and City Councilor Elmer S. Baldemoro, the revised ordinance mandates that children of indigent solo parents be prioritized in the city’s SANGGAWADAN Program and automatically become members of the Quality Universal Education Empowerment in Naga (QUEEN) Program. As members of these programs, they will be entitled to rice and school fee subsidies. Incentives will also be given to children of indigent solo parents who are in the top ten of their graduating class and top five of their year level for non-graduating students. However, only one child per indigent solo parent shall be given priority in the Tertiary Scholarship Program of the city, unless his other children meet the requirements for automatic scholarship. Further, the revised ordinance requires that solo parents be prioritized as beneficiaries in new urban poor resettlement site. Burial assistance to solo parents and their children was also increased from ₱ 2,000 to ₱ 3,000 and they are now entitled to free hospitalization at the Naga City Hospital and Bicol Medical Center. “Based on a World Health Organization-funded study, it is learned that, out of about 94 million Filipinos, there are 13.9 million solo parents. In the City of Naga, the number of solo parents is expected to be very substantial and must therefore be attended to if the city is really serious in preventing the consequent problems of solo parenthood such as poverty, lack of employment, children deprived of education and juvenile delinquents,” says Vice Mayor Legacion in his explanatory note he forwarded to the city council. The City Legal Office (CLO) shall also give free notarial services and legal assistance to an indigent solo parent in a civil case involving the custody of children or in a criminal case where s/he is the complainant. For solo parent associations, they may be granted a livelihood assistance of ₱ 10,000 or higher. Meanwhile, partner-establishments are encouraged to extend 5-10% discount, or higher, on all goods or services to purchased by solo parents and their children. It must be noted though that once a beneficiary has a change in his status or circumstance wherein he is no longer alone in carrying out the responsibilities of parenthood, he shall no longer be considered a solo parent and shall no longer qualify for the benefits given in the revised ordinance. Those who fail to disclose such change and continue to avail of the benefits under the ordinance shall be prosecuted for Estafa and shall be required to reimburse the city government of all benefits he received after the change in his status. “For us to make the best better in our Maogmang Lugar, those who have less in life must have more in law,” Vice Mayor Legacion said.

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