Rep. Duterte files bill sending ‘deadbeat’ parents to jail

Photo credit from Office of Cong. Paolo Duterte
Photo credit from Office of Cong. Paolo Duterte

Davao City First Congressional District Representative Paolo Duterte wants to send to jail “deadbeat” parents found to have deliberately and repeatedly neglected their obligation of providing child support.

Duterte, along with Benguet Representative Eric Yap and ACT-CIS Partylist Reps. Edvic Yap and Jeffrey Soriano, filed House Bill (HB) No. 4807, which proposes that parents with recurrent offenses of failing to send financial support to their child or children be punished with imprisonment of two to four years, depending on the discretion of the courts.

The proponents said that these absentee parents should be penalized with a fine ranging from P100,000 to P300,000.

First-time offenders may be granted probation, the proposed measure states.

Noting that most negligent parents withholding child support are men, Duterte said these “deadbeat” fathers should be made to own up to their responsibilities by imposing stringent penalties on them.

He also pointed out that under Republic Act (RA) 9262 or the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act,” withholding child support is classified as “economic abuse” and considered a crime.

According to HB 4807, the amount of child support under HB 4807 shall not be lower than P6,000 a month, equivalent to P200 a day. The combined monthly net incomes of both parents shall be used in determining the amount of child support, which shall be divided proportionately between the two based on their respective net revenues.

Under the proposed bill, the four legislators also sought the establishment of a National Child Support Program (NCSP) under the bill to assist in enforcing child support claims, which includes locating absent parents and expediting the collection of financial aid from them.

The NCSP adheres to the implementation of the Expanded Solo Parents Act (RA 11861) and will help in reducing the clogged court dockets of cases related to child support claims, the bill’s authors said.

To be administered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the NCSP is tasked with setting up a Child Support Register or database of child support claims and cases.

Citing a recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO), Duterte said about 15 million Filipinos, mostly women, are solo parents.

“Solo parents are already responsible for taking care of their kids independently. They should not be burdened with the problem of compelling their irresponsible and negligent ex-partners to pay child support,” Duterte said.

“This proposed law aims to ensure that their kids have sufficient support for their subsistence and other essential needs,” Duterte added.

On top of penalties, the bill states that irresponsible parents who fail to pay child support will be compelled to do so by, among others, imposing liens on their real and personal property for amounts equivalent to overdue child support claims, withholding their tax refunds, reporting their negligence to consumer credit bureaus, and seizing or attaching their compensation, settlements and other assets held by financial institutions and retirement funds.

Parents with past-due child support payments will also be barred from obtaining passports. Their driver’s licenses, professional and occupational licenses, and recreational and sporting permits will be withheld, suspended, or restricted as stated under the bill.

Unemployed parents required to pay child support will be made to participate in appropriate work activities or avail of relevant government programs to fulfill their obligation. RGL


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