A lawmaker emphasized the need to solve the current imbalance in child support responsibilities of separated couples as he proposed to make the withholding or stopping of child support a punishable offense.
Northern Samar Representative Paul Daza said it is high time to enact a law that will protect the interest of children in case of separation of couples.
Daza said while the Philippines has laws to protect and help single parents under the Solo Parent Welfare Act (RA 8972) and the Violence against Women and Children Act (RA 9262), there still remains the imbalance between the non-custodial, “irresponsible” parents who do not provide child support.
The veteran legislator filed House Bill 44, or the proposed “Child Support Enforcement Act”, which would make it clear that the moral and legal obligation to the child of the non-custodial parent does not end.
“Once a child support order is issued, child support shall not be lower than P6,000 per month.”
Specifically, once a child support order is issued, as mandated by the proposed law, child support shall not be lower than P6,000 per month, which is equivalent to P200 per day.
“Through this proposed law, absentee or deadbeat parents–who are, unfortunately, mostly men, based on statistics–can no longer act as if bringing a child into this world can easily be tossed aside when a parent or both parents decide to give up on their relationship,” the seasoned lawmaker said.
He said the bill mandates the avoidance of giving a grace period for non-payment of child support, as the offending parent would be immediately susceptible to criminal action upon his first default of payment.
Daza said gender would be removed as a factor in evaluating cases, adding that even mothers can be compelled to give child support if they abandoned their children in the custody of the father or any other substitute parent.
He also suggested integrating child support with the issuance of government permits, licensing, and other documentary issuances.
“Imagine, these children did not choose to be born; why will they be the ones to suffer more when their parents decide to separate?”
“It’s about time that we enact a law that will protect our children from balasubas (coarse) parents. Imagine, these children did not choose to be born; why will they be the ones to suffer more when their parents decide to separate?” Daza stressed.
He also said while Republic Act 8972 provides special privileges like discounts, leave credits, and flexible work schedule for solo parents, what they need more is an increase in their purchasing power, which “can be done by compelling non-custodial parents to contribute toward their child’s basic necessities”.
Under Daza’s bill, any person who willfully fails to pay child support, if such an obligation has remained unpaid for two months or has an outstanding amount due of P30,000 or more, shall be liable.
Probation may be granted to a first offender but for succeeding offenses, the penalty is imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than four years and a fine of not less than P100,000 or not more than P300,000 at the discretion of the court.