´╗┐House bill aims to penalize child negligence with imprisonment

A bill seeking to impose imprisonment and other ‘harsh’ provisions as punishment for negligent parents has been filed at the House of Representatives.
In a statement on Tuesday, Senior Deputy Minority Leader Paul Ruiz Daza said his bill, House Bill No. 44, aims to strengthen mandates on child welfare and protection.
‘In my version of the bill, I had harsh provisions in there, like imprisonment. Make the law so that it really has teeth so that noncustodial parents will be so afraid they will give, they will pay [for child support],’ he said in a mix of Filipino and English.
He noted that there are already child support provisions in the Family Code but the negligence of parents remains to be a ‘perennial problem’ in Filipino households.
Under Daza’s bill, parents are required to give a monthly child support of P6,000 a month.
Noncustodial parents who fail to pay their child support after two months or who owe more than P30,000 will face up to four years in prison and a P300,000 fine.
According to Daza, the passage of the bill ‘essentially addresses the gaps to make it easier for custodial parents to enforce child support.’
Along with the issuance of official documents, other sanctions for negligent parents will also be included, such as an immigration hold-departure order and other government transactions.
Under this bill, an unemployed parent who is unable to pay child support will be assisted by the government in gaining employment.
‘Let’s help them find a job,’ Daza said.
He added that the bill would support the Solo Parent Act and improve the provisions for child support in the Civil Code.
‘I think that it is time for the House, for our country, to have a national debate on how we can improve existing laws and regulations that address the welfare of children, in particular, problems that single-parent households face,’ he said.
‘While keeping our children protected and nourished is the objective, the happiest outcome we could arrive at is keeping more families together,’ he added.