The Public Attorney’s Office and the Department of Social Welfare and Development have joined forces to go after negligent fathers who refuse to give support to their children.
PAO chief Persida Acosta and DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo on Monday signed a memorandum of agreement to assist neglected or abandoned children of men with estranged wives, partners, and even girlfriends.
“The days of these irresponsible fathers are numbered. You shall face criminal charges,” Acosta said.
“You produce children, then you refuse to give support. What’s that? Even if you plant a plant, you have to nurture it,” she added.
PAO would help mothers of a neglected child or children file a case against their fathers, who after being warned by the DSWD would remain unresponsive, Tulfo said.
“We will not just warn these kinds of fathers, but we will help the mothers file cases,” he added.
“Once a concerned mother approaches, we will write to the (negligent) father once and twice. If he ignores us, PAO has to step into the matter,” Tulfo stressed.
Under the agreement, PAO would represent the aggrieved mothers in court.
Tulfo is encouraging single mothers to surface and seek government help.
“It does not matter if the (complaining) mother already has a (current) husband or a partner since, under the law, there must be child support from the father until the child reaches 18 years old,” he noted.
According to the DSWD chief, an irresponsible father may face charges of violating Articles 194 and 195 of the Family Code of the Philippines and Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.
These have a penalty of imprisonment from one to 20 years and a fine of P100,000 to P300,000.