Noting that parents who protected, raised and enabled their children may need assistance when they grow old, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed a bill mandating children to show filial responsibility at their time of need.
In filing Senate Bill 2819, Lacson lamented that despite Filipinos’ close family ties, some still abandon their elderly, sick and incapacitated parents to fend for themselves.
“We Filipinos are well-known for our close family ties. Because of these close family ties, we have the usual inclination to care for our elderly. However, even with this close family ties, there are elderly, sick and incapacitated parents who were abandoned by their children. The sights of abandoned elderly in our streets are now common. Children fail to provide the necessary support to their aging, sick and incapacitated parents. This happens despite our moral and natural obligation to maintain our parents who are in need of support,” he said.
“This proposed bill therefore seeks to further strengthen filial responsibility and makes it a criminal offense in case of flagrant violation thereof,” he added.
He added his bill aims to complement the Family Code, which imposes on Filipinos a legal obligation to support the elderly.
Lacson said that while the government is doing its best in providing support in the form of food and shelter as well as enacting legislations like the Senior Citizens Act, taking care of the elderly members of society is a shared responsibility of government and the children of the elderly.
Under Lacson’s bill, abandonment of a parent in need of support shall likewise constitute a criminal act.
A parent who is in need of support may file a petition for support before the court and pray for the issuance of a support order against those children who failed or refused to provide the necessary support.
Legal representation of the parent in need of support will be provided by the Public Attorney’s Office and no court fees will be assessed.
The bill also seeks to establish an Old Age Home for the elderly, sick or otherwise incapacitated parents in every province and highly urbanized cities.
Lacson noted the rules requiring children to support their parents have existed for thousands of years.
The bill also calls for a support order to compel children to provide the necessary support to their parent.
Such an order shall include the name of the children required to give support, the amount necessary for the support of their parent and the share of each of the children.
The death of one of the children of the parent in need of support will not affect the liability of others.
But if the court determines after due notice and hearing that the parent in need of support abandoned, abused or neglected the respondent, it may dismiss the petition or may reduce the quantum of support ordered by such amount as may be just.
A respondent who continues to fail in giving support for three consecutive months without justifiable cause, faces imprisonment of one to six months or a fine of P100,000.
One who abandons a parent in any place shall be punished with imprisonment of six to 10 years and a fine of at least P300,000.