DSWD 7 hosts solo parents summit

THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 hosted the Visayas cluster of the agency’s solo parents summit on Nov. 15-16, 2019 at Hotel Elizabeth in Cebu City.

Recognizing the need to further enhance solo parents’ awareness on Republic Act (RA) 8972 (the Solo Parents Welfare Act) and also on the proposed amendments, the DSWD central office organized a series of summits in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao through its Program Management Bureau.

The following are the objectives of the summit: provide a venue for local implementers, solo parents organizations, advocates and stakeholders to engage in interactive discussion on the issues affecting the sector; push for the amendments to RA 8972 currently pending in the House and Senate; and provide programs and services from various government agencies to the participants.

Other summits

The Luzon Summit was held earlier in Angeles City, Pampanga.

For the National Capital Region (NCR), it will be held at the DSWD central office on Saturday, Nov. 30, while the Mindanao leg will happen on Dec. 9-10 in Davao City.

The Federation of Solo Parents Luzvimin, the umbrella organization of 26 solo parent associations nationwide, shall mobilize its member organizations to push for the passage of the amendments to RA 8972. The DSWD Central Office Solo Parents–Employees Organization (Co-SPEO) and Co-SPEOs of field offices of NCR, Region 3, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Regions 6, 8 and 11 are also taking part in the advocacy.

Not widely implemented

RA 8972 was signed by former President Joseph Estrada on Nov. 7, 2000, while the implementing rules and regulations were approved on April 10, 2002.

The law was enacted 19 years ago to assist solo parents to cope with their situation. However, the provisions of the law are not being widely implemented because majority of local government units (LGUs) are either not aware that RA 8972 exists or they lack the necessary manpower and resources to conduct a massive advocacy/information campaign, or they simply lack the political will to implement concrete programs and services for their solo parent constituents.

Challenges

Meanwhile, today’s solo parents face several challenges ranging from financial/economic, mental, emotional, physical to psycho-social problems. Hence, the role of LGUs is crucial since the full implementation of the law’s provisions rest on their shoulders, specifically with the Local Social Welfare Development Offices, which mostly lack trained personnel to address the numerous concerns of solo parents in their jurisdictions.

“As the lead agency in the monitoring of RA 8972, the DSWD continuously advocates for the law’s amendment, which is one of the department’s priority legislative measures. DSWD chairs the Special Review Committee on Solo Parents, an inter-agency body comprising national government agencies tasked with implementing the Comprehensive Psycho-Social Programs and Services for Solo Parents and their Children,” said DSWD 7 Director Rebecca P. Geamala.

Since Geamala took over the leadership of DSWD 7 in January this year, she has been supportive of organizing solo parents. She also envisioned an umbrella organization for solo parents in Region 7.