“This move we are making should help break the culture of dependency on government support”
In a team up with the Public Attorney’s Office, we at the Department of Social Welfare and Development have taken concrete steps to compel parents, particularly the fathers of children left in the care of their ex-wives, former live-in partners or girlfriends.
As DSWD Secretary, yours truly and PAO Chief Atty. Persida Acosta signed a Memorandum of Agreement that will facilitate the filing of criminal as well as civil cases against deadbeat dads.
Therefore, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the indefatigable Attorney Acosta for taking time off her busy schedule to forge this partnership on this noble cause with DSWD.
It is high time we acted decisively on the ever-growing cases of failure or refusal of the biological fathers to provide financial support for the basic needs of their estranged children.
Atty. Acosta and I recognize the government’s mandate to fulfill the provisions of Articles 194 and 195 of the Family Code and Republic Act 9262 which, in sum, define the duties and obligations of a father and failure to meet them as tantamount to denial of financial support.
Art. 194 defines support as everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.
Art. 195 says the parents are obliged to support illegitimate, as well as their legitimate children.
In the same breath, Sec. 5 of RA 9262, also known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, categorizes as “psychological violence” the denial of financial support to the children.
We are certainly now getting the word out that we are seriously going after negligent fathers who otherwise have the financial means but instead choose to renege on their obligation to their biological offspring.
I share Atty. Acosta’s misgiving over deadbeat father’s failure to financially support his children.
She likens him to a negligent plantito, “Mag-aanak ka nang mag-aanak pagkatapos hindi mo susustentuhan. Ano ka, nagtanim ng halaman tapos hindi mo didiligan? Eh, di natigang yan. Diligan mo nang diligan!”
This leads me to assert that our efforts must have far-reaching implications not only arousing the sense of paternal financial responsibility.
This move we are making should help break the culture of dependency on government support.
While we wholeheartedly extend financial assistance to distressed mothers through programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), we are well aware that many parents are merely abusing public assistance programs.
Although living separately, parents actually connive in seeking and receiving 4Ps cash grants for years despite their undeclared financial capability. It’s a shame they are used to getting government cash aid on behalf of their school age children.
There are also several instances where the children are forced to live with grandparents or relatives in which case they are susceptible to physical and verbal abuse, owing to the absence of both parents.
Well, the days of hayahay for deadbeat dads are numbered. We encourage the mothers and their children who experience the aggravation to come to the DSWD for immediate action.
If they do not heed the mother’s demand for financial support and do not respond to our warning, the PAO will then assist the mother in filing the appropriate cases against the children’s father.
RA 9262 criminalizes violence against women and their children perpetrated by the woman’s husband, former husband or any person against whom the woman has or had a sexual or dating relationship with, or with whom the woman has a common child, whether legitimate or illegitimate.
The law says non-payment of child support or “threatening” not to provide child support constitute “economic abuse or psychological harm or suffering.”
The child’s biological father need not be connected to the mother by marriage or former marriage, as he could be someone who had a sexual relationship only.
The minimum term of penalty shall be prision correccional or from six months and to six years, while the maximum term shall be eight years to 10 years of prision mayor.