GEMELINE Hoceña of Barangay Malinta, a proud mother of two has been single-handedly raising her children since she became a widow in 2002 but she has never felt alone in raising and supporting her children to achieve their dreams.

Thanks to the all-out support of the administration of Mayor Rex Gatchalian which has been constantly backing up solo parents like her through local initiatives and programs cascaded down from the national government.

According to Linda Santiago, focal person for Women and Family of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), solo parents have numerous benefits and privileges that they shall enjoy and experience under the Republic Act No. 8972 or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000.

“Mayroon tayong counseling, mayroon tayong financial assistance, may medical tayo. Mayroon tayong educational assistance, may ‘balik-probinsiya’ kung gusto nila. Lahat ng mandatory na benepisyo na galing sa DSWD ay compliant po tayo,” she said.

When Ms. Hoceña joined the solo parents’ organization in 2011, the local government has granted her with financial assistance which she used to support the studies of her children.

Her eldest is now a graduating student of B.S. Psychology at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela while her second child is a Grade-10 student at the Malinta National High School.

AS the president of solo parents in Brgy. Malinta, she was one of the officers who attended the first general assembly for Solo Parent Officers in all barangays in the city held at the Valenzuela City Social Hall, September 15, 2017.

The general assembly aims to introduce the officers of different barangays to each other and, consequently, to identify the individuals who are ready for the responsibilities of being the city’s representative once elected in the citywide election of solo parent officers.

The CSWDO also sought their willingness to register their organization with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Contrary to popular perception, the benefits of RA 8972 are not exclusively available for female solo parents only. There are numerous male solo parents who are registered with the CSWDO – Solo Parents Service Unit.

Like their female counterparts, they are provided with Solo Parent Identification Card which serves as a validation when they avail of seven days solo parent leave from work, among other benefits.

Hail to the mayor and the city! GOOD RIDDANCE/ARLIE CALALO

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