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Lawmaker: Deadbeat parents need to be fined, to serve jail time

Deadbeat parents or those who willfully and repeatedly fail to support their children should be punished with fines, prison time, or both, a lawmaker said Tuesday.

Representative Paolo Duterte of Davao City said such proposals were in House Bill 4807 which he authored alongside colleagues Eric Yap of Benguet, and Edvic Yap and Jeffrey Soriano of the ACT-CIS party-list.

House Bill 4807 provides a fine worth P100,000 to P300,000 and jail time of two to four years.

First-time offenders, however, may be granted probation under the measure.

“Most negligent parents withholding child support are men. These 'deadbeat' fathers should be made to own up to their responsibilities by imposing stringent penalties on them,” he said in a statement.

“Solo parents already have the responsibility of taking care of their kids on their own. They should not be burdened with the problem of compelling their irresponsible and negligent ex-partners to pay child support. This proposed is to ensure that their kids have sufficient support for their subsistence and other essential needs,” Duterte added.

Duterte said that lack of child support is already considered economic abuse under Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act.

House Bill 4807 states that the amount of child support should not be lower than P6,000 a month or P200 a day.

The combined monthly net incomes of both parents will be used as the basis for determining the amount of child support, with the amount to be divided proportionately between the father and the mother based on their respective net incomes.

In addition, Duterte said the provision of the National Child Support Program (NCSP) under the bill should be able to assist in the enforcement of child support claims, including locating absentee parents and expediting the collection of financial aid from them.

The NCSP, Duterte said, is in line with the implementation of the Expanded Solo Parents Act.

Further, the bill tasks the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with overseeing NCSP which will then set up a Child Support Register or a database of child support claims and cases.

Aside from penalties, the bill states that irresponsible parents who fail to pay child support will be compelled to do so by, among others, imposing liens on their real and personal property for amounts equivalent to overdue child support claims, withholding their tax refunds, reporting their negligence to consumer credit bureaus, and seizing or attaching their compensation, settlements and other assets held by financial institutions and retirement funds.

Parents with past-due child support payments will also be barred from obtaining passports. Their driver’s licenses, professional and occupational licenses, and recreational and sporting licenses will be also withheld, suspended, or restricted.

Unemployed parents required to pay child support, on the other hand, will be made to participate in appropriate work activities or avail of relevant government programs to be able to fulfill their obligation.

A similar measure was earlier filed by Representative Paul Daza of Northern Samar.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Erwin Tulfo earlier said that the DSWD was working with the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to be able to file complaints against deadbeat parents. — DVM, GMA Integrated News