Raising a child ‘expensive’

SunStar Local News
SunStar Local News

LORNA Toring of Barangay Tabok, Mandaue City, is familiar with the challenges encountered by solo parents.

Toring, a single mother of three, found it increasingly difficult to balance her income from a job that pays below the minimum wage, especially with the rising cost of living.

She worked tirelessly, often without days off, to provide for her children’s needs.

Toring recalled the early days when her husband was still with her, but circumstances have changed since she was left to raise their children alone.

Her children are in elementary and high school.

During the birth of her first child, financial difficulties were a major concern.

Although costs were lower back then, they were still too high for them. Sometimes they even had to use napkins because they ran out of diapers.

Her husband’s P1,000 weekly income at the time was just enough to feed them.

Their hardship has doubled now that her children are older, and she no longer has a partner to share the household expenses with. All the financial burden falls on her.

Toring admitted that her P500 income from vending is insufficient, but she is grateful that her children are helping her save money.

Subsidy

The Mandaue City Government is considering a P1,000 monthly cash subsidy for all registered solo parents in the city, totaling P12,000 annually.

This proposal, initiated by Councilor Jimmy Lumapas, chairman of the committee on social services, aims to provide financial support to single parents struggling to raise their children without a stable income.

The proposed “Solo Parents P1,000 Monthly Cash Subsidy” ordinance has passed its first reading in the Mandaue City Council.

The initiative intends to assist approximately 1,000 solo parents, necessitating a budget allocation of P1 million per month, equating to P12 million annually.

The subsidy will be distributed in two tranches of P6,000 each, with the first tranche released in June and the second in November.

For the calendar year 2024, however, the subsidy will be disbursed as a single payment of P12,000 in November, provided the eligible solo parents meet all qualifications and submit the required documents from January to March 2024.

Eligible solo parents are those who have been duly registered as such inMandaue City, according to the requirements and categories set forth by Republic Act (RA) 11861, also known as the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act.

According to Section 15(o) of RA 11861, a solo parent earning the minimum wage or below is entitled to a means-tested cash subsidy each month.

Individuals abandoned by their spouse for at least six months also qualify as solo parents. This category includes spouses or family members of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are guardians of the OFW’s child or children, provided the OFW is classified as a low/semi-skilled worker and has been away from the Philippines for an uninterrupted period of 12 months.

Additionally, a solo parent is defined as any individual who fits several criteria, such as a parent providing sole care and support to a child or children due to birth resulting from rape, even without a final conviction; the death of a spouse; or the detention of a spouse for at least three months serving a sentence for a criminal conviction.

Other categories include those with a spouse who is physically or mentally incapacitated, as certified by a medical practitioner; or those who have sole parental care and support of a child or children following legal separation or the nullity or annulment of a marriage, as decreed by a court of law.

Qualified solo parents must also be registered voters in the city and must not be receiving any other subsidy from other government programs. However, senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) can continue receiving their respective benefits without forfeiting benefits under RA 111681.

Solo parents who have moved from one barangay to another, or from another town or city to Mandaue City, must obtain a certificate of change of residence, which must be validated by the Solo Parents Office to update their records.

Luz Mandawitnon, a full-time mother of three, shared the difficulty of raising children, despite having her husband’s support. Her husband’s job and their small sari-sari store help them manage their daily needs.

“By God’s grace, we only struggle a little because we have a small sari-sari store, and our earnings are just enough for our daily needs,” Mandawitnon said.

Having a partner, Mandawitnon said, is a blessing.

Despite daily arguments, there is mutual support for their children, a luxury that many solo parents, like Toring, do not have.

She has one child in elementary school, a three-year-old, and another who is less than a year old.

She said that taking care of two children while her husband was at work wasn’t easy, as she needed to be constantly alert to ensure their safety.

For Toring, the proposed measure, if passed, will be a significant relief. / CAV

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