MANILA — A lawmaker is pushing for the immediate passage of a bill that would penalize children who would abandon parents that can no longer fend for themselves.
Rep. Roy M. Loyola (5th District, Cavite) said House Bill 5336, to be known as Parents Welfare Act of 2014, requires children to provide their old and sick parents support for sustenance, clothing, residence, medical attendance and other amenities that would enable them to lead a normal life.
The bill imposes the penalty of imprisonment of one month to six months or a fine of not more than Php100,000 if the respondent continues to fail in giving said support for three consecutive months without justifiable cause.
Whoever, having the care of protection of a parent in need of support, leaves such parent in any place with the intention of wholly abandoning the latter shall be punished with imprisonment of six years to 10 years and a fine of not less than Php300,000, the bill provides.
In filing the bill, Loyola said the sights of abandoned elderly in the streets have become common because children failed to provide the necessary support to their old and sick parents.
“This happens despite our moral and natural obligation to support our parents who are in need of our help. On the same vain, our Family Code imposes on us the legal obligation to support our elderly,” he said.
Loyola said while government is doing its best in providing support in the form of food and shelter as well as enacting legislation like the Senior Citizens Act, taking care of the elderly is a shared responsibility of the government and the children of the said elderly.
House Bill 5336 states that a parent in need of support who is unable to maintain himself/herself from his/her own earning or out of the property owned by him/her or who is incapacitated or otherwise incapable of supporting himself/herself shall be given support by his/her children.
Loyola explained that if the parent concerned has several children, the support to be given shall be divided among them in proportion to their resources or financial capacity and in such manner as may be just and equitable.
If the children could not fulfill their duty to support their parents because of illness or mental condition, then the grandchildren shall be held liable to support their ascendants, Loyola said.
The measure provides that a petition for support may be filed in the regional trial court with territorial jurisdiction over the place of residence of the petitioner or before a family court that exists in the place of the residence of the petitioner.
The petition of support may be filed by the parent in need of support; children of the parent in need of support against those who do not provide/contribute for the support of the former; ascendants, descendants or collateral relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.
Likewise, officers or social workers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development or social workers of local government units (LGUs), lawyer or healthcare provider of the parent in need of support, any person or institution, any person or institution who has the care of the parent in need of support as well as at least two concerned responsible citizens of the city or municipality where the parent in need of support resides may also file for the petition of support.
The court, in granting the petition for support, shall consider, but shall not limited to the financial needs of the parent in need of support, the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the parent concerned as well as of the respondents.
The bill mandates that all provincial government and highly urbanized cities to establish and maintain at least one old age home that can accommodate at least 50 parents.