Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Paul Daza wants to penalize absent or deadbeat parents who have refused or failed to give support to their children.
He filed House Bill No. 7810, the proposed “Child Support Enforcement Act,” to remind parents to be responsible for the survival and well-being of their children.
“Seeing the important role of non-custodial or absentee spouses/partners in raising healthy and secure children, there is a need to enact a child support enforcement law,” Daza said in his bill’s explanatory note.
Citing the study commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), he noted that there are about 14 million household heads without a spouse.
He said the figure is about 14 to 15 percent of the estimated 94 million Filipinos in 2018.
“It is more overwhelming that round 95 percent of these individuals are women. This means that more and more children are in difficult, precarious, and financially insecure conditions, caused by absence of lack of support from absentee or deadbeat parents, who are, sadly, mostly men,” Daza said.
He said while there are already existing laws that address the plight of solo parents, much still needs to be done to strengthen protection of children.
He said the measure mandates child support in all circumstances, including in cases of couples who decided not to get married or separate whether legally or not, or parents who refused to or failed to give child support.
“This proposed law will have more teeth than any other similar existing or proposed law,” the House leader said.
Under HB 7810, Daza proposed a minimum across-the-board amount of child support that all non-custodial parents must pay regardless of their income or lack thereof.
He explained that one of the core features of his bill is the avoidance of giving a grace period for non-payment of child support.
“The offending parent is immediately susceptible to criminal action upon his first default of payment,” he said.
He said HB 7810 provides for the removal of gender as a factor in evaluating cases.
“Even mothers can be compelled to give child support if they abandon their children in the custody of the father or any other substitute parent,” he said.
Daza said one of salient provisions of his bill is the integration of child support with the issuance of government permits, licensing, and other documentary issuances of the government.
“For example, a hold departure order (HDO) is immediately issued upon the first default of payment of child support, as determined by barangay and police authorities,” he said.
He said the government can provide more support to single parents, particularly in the issuance of licenses and permits, including the automatic non-issuance of driver’s license or passport for an offender or deadbeat parent.
“This is already being done in the United States. In fact, New York State, through the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance/Child Support, requires employers to submit income and benefit data of employees who have child support cases. This information becomes the basis through which they can require parents with child support cases to continue supporting their children,” he said.
Daza said HB 7810 provides mandatory inclusion of the discussion of the rights of the child under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Republic Act No 7610, the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and Republic Act No. 9262, Violence Against Women and Children Act, and other relevant laws in school curricula.
He said the bill also calls for mandatory remittance of child support by employers of a non-custodial parent.
“Employers that refuse to automatically remit child support payments to a custodial parent are made criminally liable along with the offending non-custodial parent,” he said.
Daza’s proposed “Child Support Enforcement Act” calls for the imposition of criminal liability on family members of a non-custodial parent who intervene and block child support payments.
The bill calls for the establishment of the National Child Support Program (NCSP), which will be administered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in strict compliance with the support of relevant agencies in the national and local levels.
HB 7810 tasks the DSWD Secretary, after due consultation with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Bureau of investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), Office of the Solicitor General, and other relevant civil society organizations to formulate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act.