As a wife of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), I find good news in “‘Solo parent’ OFWs to benefit from bill” (3/18/19). My sentiment, I believe, is also shared by many other solo parents (estimated to number 3 million) whose families have been left behind by a working spouse abroad.
Working miles away for the benefit of loved ones in the Philippines is no easy feat. For all the sacrifices they do for the good of their respective families, and considering the dollar remittances they contribute to keep our economy afloat, our OFWs are indeed modern-day heroes, and the new measures being introduced by Sen. Risa Hontiveros would alleviate the plight of solo parents, like me, left in the country by OFW spouses.
Years back, I went to a Department of Social Welfare and Development office in Quezon City to apply for a solo parent card, but was denied outright. I was then just after the additional seven-day “leave credits” enjoyed by solo parents. I was honest enough to admit that I had regular contact with and financial support from my husband, but that disqualified me from being issued a card.
I am a solo parent in the real sense of the word, taking care of the needs of my girls, and physically raising a family alone. On top of a full-time job to keep, I am faced with the herculean task of meeting the growing-up requirements of my girls, from being present in school activities to maintaining a home — not a walk in the park. Despite all the predicaments I am in, I am not covered by Republic Act No. 8972, or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act, when technically I am a solo parent. Every day is a struggle. And money is not all in raising a family.
Expanding the coverage of RA 8972 can offer great relief to struggling solo parents everywhere who are left with the gargantuan task of keeping the family together.
BELEN DOCENA-ASUELO, firstname.lastname@example.org