Bill penalizing refusal to give child support pushed

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By Rosette Adel

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker filed a bill to make parents who refuse or fail to provide legal child support suffer legal consequences.

Manila Rep. Rosenda Ocampo, also vice chair of the House Committees on Basic Education and Culture, on Games and Amusement and on Natural Resources, authored House Bill (HB) 6079 to penalize parents who neglect their responsibility of giving child support without justifiable cause.

“Apart from the emotional trauma, the parent who has custody of the child is left with the difficult task of single-handedly raising the child or children,” Ocampo said citing that child support is one of the main issues faced by separated couples.

“Hence, the welfare of the child is compromised, especially when the custodial parent does not have the means to sustain the needs of the child,” she added.

Ocampo said the present Constitution does not penalize anyone obliged to give legal child support but intentionally remit the support.

She said with the present laws, “the custodial parent can only file a motion to cite the obliged parent for indirect contempt for refusal to comply with a valid court order mandating the support provisions.” Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

The Manila solon lamented that this makes it easier for the obliged parent to disregard the support owed to the child even if the parent is financially capable.

“Ultimately, it is the child who suffers the most from this conflict,” Ocampo said.

To address the growing number of neglected children, Ocampo authored HB 6079 proposing penalties of fines and imprisonment against the obliged parent if found guilty of refusing or failing to give legal child support without justifiable cause.

The parent who commits any of the prohibited acts enumerated in this act shall be fined P25,000 or imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than one year or both and the lump sum settlement of the total unpaid legal child support for the first offense.

For subsequent offenses, the bill raised the fine to P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than two years or both and the lump sum settlement of the total unpaid legal support.

Ocampo said that the approval of HB 6079 will compel parents to comply with the court order to provide the legal child support and ensure that their child or children still get the best possible care, despite their severed relationship.

HB 6079 is currently referred to the Committee on Welfare and Children chaired by Zamboanga Del Sur Rep. Aurora Enerio Cerilles.