Bill penalizes parents denying child support

- Rosario) (Ben R.

Parents who deny their child support face two years in jail under a bill filed in the House of Representa­tives.

Authored by Manila Rep. Rosenda Ann Ocampo, House Bill 6079 makes a parent criminally liable if he or she will refuse to support a legal child without any justifiabl­e reason.

Ocampo, vice chairperso­n of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, said the issue of child support remains to be one of the most difficult issues to resolve between couples hounded by the pain of separation.

“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,” she explained.

She explained that children who are denied support agonize more as a result of the split of parents.

“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 said.

While the custodial parent has a civil option to seek support for the child, there is no criminal liability imposed on the parent who does not have custody of a child.

“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,” said Ocampo.

She said that this makes it easier for the obliged parent to neglect the support owed to the child, even if that parent is financiall­y capable.

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

To address this situation, Ocampo proposed penalties of fines and imprisonme­nt against the obliged parent if found guilty of refusing or failing to give legal child support without justifiabl­e cause.

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