How systemic discrimination and outmoded government policies led to an increase in the number of single parents in Philippines.

single parents

In 2017, the Philippines has 14 million single parents out of a total population of 94 million. According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 1,8 million or 11.9% of the nation’s 15.1 million assessed households include a single parent. The population of single parents will continue to grow in the coming years. For all of the single parents, we studied their basic profiles, including their financial condition, means of subsistence and job abilities, and desire to establish sustainable perspectives.

The results found that 62 per cent of respondents were low-income or unemployed and experiencing financial difficulties, while the remainder were involved in relatively steady occupations, such as collecting shells and fishing, food vending, and abaca stripping. In the eastern portion of this province, where the Kuroshio Current flows from south to north, there are a variety of part-time and low-paying occupations in the fishing industry. Abaca production is also prevalent in this region, which employs labour-intensive stripping techniques.

Nonetheless, everyday revenue tended to be minimal and irregular. For their economic status to improve, there must be an increase in local employment options and an expansion of occupational skills. Currently, single-parent households are more prevalent than the so-called “nuclear family” of mothers, fathers, and children. Today, there are numerous types of single-parent families, including those headed by mothers, fathers, and even grandparents rearing grandchildren.

Although frequent, life in a single-parent household may be highly stressful for the adult and the children. The obligations of caring for the children, holding a career, and keeping up with the finances and domestic chores may leave the single parent feeling overwhelmed. And often, the family’s assets and resources are significantly diminished after the parents’ separation.

Single parent families confront numerous additional stresses and potential problems that other families may not encounter. The Philippines have a long and difficult history of discrimination. After the Spanish conquest of the archipelago, an aggressive Christian ideology was adopted, which included the widespread and ruthless punishment of adultery and homosexuality, as well as the application of strict control over sexuality and the female body.

Despite substantial advances in women’s rights and the election of two female presidents in less than 20 years, serious problems persist, the most prominent of which is the age of sexual consent, which remains 12 years old. As the legal marriage age is 18, however, teenage girls who fall pregnant are likely to be left to fend for themselves.

In addition, the lack of access to contraceptives results in a large number of unwanted births, and any attempt to terminate the pregnancy would be illegal due to the criminalization of abortion and outdated attitudes towards it. Abortions are available, but the operations are extremely dangerous, resulting in over 1,000 deaths per year due to filthy facilities and outmoded methods.

Another complicating aspect in explaining the high number of single mothers in the Philippines is the issue of marriage. Parental consent complicates marriage in that if either party is under the age of 25, all parents must consent to the marriage; otherwise, the local registrar might refuse to grant a marriage license.

 This demonstrates that it is easy to focus on the advancements in women’s rights in the Philippines, but the antiquated regulations regulating contraception, abortion, and the age of consent have led to a disproportionately high number of single mothers.

COVID-19 is primarily responsible for the increase of single parents in the Philippines.

Jessica, age 30, says, “Before COVID-19, I was already having a difficult time as a single mother, but since the community quarantine was implemented, I’ve never felt more helpless.”

According to recent research by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Philippines has over 15 million single parents, 95 per cent of them are women, or more than 14 million. Due to the escalating number of COVID-19 cases and the deteriorating economy, single mothers like Jessica bear the weight, particularly in paying for their children’s necessities during community quarantine.

This could have a negative impact on their physical, mental, and emotional health, particularly for women in low-income neighbourhoods. Women are disproportionately affected by the disruption and even the loss of jobs and means of subsistence, which has exacerbated the loss of resources necessary to meet their necessities.

In the past two months, Jessica was unable to bring her children, especially her youngest, to the health facility due to a lack of funds, transportation, and fear of infection. Due to a lack of funds, she has also neglected to bring her eldest child to the hospital for his usual checkups.

“I simply wish to provide for them and meet their needs. I rely on government-provided and privately-donated relief supplies. She reveals, “I am also dependent on the assistance of my family.”

Challenges faced by single parents in the Philippines

For Single Mothers in the Philippines, COVID-19’s greatest threat is unemployment.

On March 16, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a lockdown on the whole island of Luzon and its 58 million inhabitants to contain the spread of a new virus.

The rigorous quarantine was accompanied by the suspension of transportation services, a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., travel restrictions, and the closure of all businesses except for those providing food and basic services.

This put tens of thousands of jobs and salaries in jeopardy. The coronavirus crisis has displaced about 500,000 workers. Additionally, 117,890 workers in the informal economy were affected. This has been especially difficult for single parents in the Philippines.

In a recent study, the Philippine Institute of Development Studies indicated that eight out of twenty working parents are in precarious employment. Call centers, which employ over one million Filipinos the vast majority of whom are women are just one industry that has been compelled to make reductions due to the present economic crisis. Joy Jefferey, age 28, is one of a growing number of unemployed single mothers.

Her circumstances have prevented her from returning to work as a call centre agent in Metro Manila, even though her employer has continued operations during the lockdown through a work-from-home policy.

“Since I lack a personal computer and a dependable internet connection, remote work is not practical for me. While I am currently unable to work, I am using my accrued vacation time,” she told VICE.

“The corporation has informed full-time or regular employees that they would not lose their jobs as long as the business continues to operate and there are agents performing work from home.” During the quarantine, certain agents may also reside at the office.

Joy believes that the financial impact of the pandemic will be the most devastating. “After this quarantine, the bills I must pay will be increased, and since I won’t be earning a wage for the next month, I’ll soon have no more leave credits to utilize. “There is a ‘No Work, No Pay Policy’ in effect.”

“The majority of single mothers in Philippines working at company would rather stay in the office for a month and work far from their homes and children to ensure that they are compensated and can continue to provide for them.”

Iris Natividad is a street seller in the city of Navotas in Metro Manila, where she sells beverages, snacks, and smokes. I’ve had this booth for eight years, but the cops forced me to close it last week due to stricter community quarantine regulations.

The youngest of Iris’s three children is 1 year old. She is not a regular employee of any company, has no guaranteed income, and has no paid time off or sick leave; she has no job security.

“I walked to the village office to request assistance, but the office was closed. The government has ignored the urban slums. Iris stated, “They forgot about us before this outbreak, but now we need assistance more than ever and they don’t care.”

They [the government] communicate information over the internet, but I don’t have an internet-capable phone, so I try to heed the counsel of my neighbours. We simply attempt to maintain cleanliness.”

Iris relocated the stall to a new location. The lockdown has rendered schools shuttered, and she is now joined by her three small children. She stated, “People need the stall, and I need it for work.”

The authorities subsequently shut down the shop and fined Iris PHP 5,000 ($98). She is currently broke and in debt. There is no way to earn sufficient funds to pay the fee. The repercussions may prevent her from paying her expenses and force her and her children to live on the street.

“I used to make around PHP200 ($4) each day, which was insufficient to support my family. Now, I have no means of earning a living.”

Common Single parent Problems in Philippines

Parenting is difficult, especially if you must do it alone. As society standards and family values evolve, the number of single parents is increasing rapidly in Philippine. There are other circumstances-specific challenges that single parent frequently confront. Legal Issues and various factors cause women to become single mothers.

  • Widowed
  • Divorced
  • Unwanted pregnancy/unwillingness(fathers)
  • Break-up
  • Strict government policy

Any of these circumstances may involve legal considerations including child custody, child support, residence limitations, and estate preparation. In light of this, the single mother may find herself in court dealing with one of these circumstances. Because courts are overburdened with cases, judicial hearings for these common concerns may last for months or even years.

Location and Living Conditions

Depending on the father’s involvement, unmarried mothers may find themselves dealing with custody concerns. It can be difficult for single parents to physically uphold and emotionally adjust to court rulings involving child custody. Managing transportation and visitation plans can be challenging, particularly if the father has inflexible expectations or lives far away. The primary worries of mothers who share custody or visitation of their children are:

  • -How the youngster feels at arrival and departure
  • -Fear of the unknown – what is taking place in the other residence?
  • -Fear of being replaced in the father’s life by another partner
  • -Fear of the youngster deciding to reside with the opposing parent
  • -Behavior problems exhibited by the youngster

Child Assistance

Philippine government have not sconsidered child support, Child support is money provided by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to assist with the child’s living expenses. The collection of child support can only be enforced if the support agreement is formalized through the court system.

Managing child support rulings and requests can be challenging for a variety of reasons.

  • It can be difficult to establish the true costs associated with a single child.
  • Unpaid child support can result in incarceration
  • If one parent believes the amount is unjust, it could lead to conflict or tension.

Co-parenting Issues

Although children often spend most of their time with one parent, successful co-parenting must still occur. Co-parenting with a person with whom you no longer share a residence can be tough, especially as your relationship evolves.

Co-parenting does not require you to be best friends with the father of your child. It does not even imply that you must like him. It indicates that you are both devoted to addressing significant events and topics about your child and attempting to reach a consensus on a unified approach, although it may not always be possible.

The golden rule: treat the father of your kid as you would like to be treated.

Dating A Common Difficulty for Single parents in Philippines

The yearning for a new love relationship will likely arise at some point. When you have children at home, dating has additional problems in addition to the usual ones. Males counterparts have not consider dating single mother due to the enforcement of the government strict policy, single mother is neglect due to this law imposed by the government.

Issues regarding romantic relationships by single mothers include:

  • Who would want to date a woman with children?
  • How will I create room in my schedule for a new relationship?
  • When should I expose my children to a potential spouse?
  • What if my children dislike the person I’m seeing?
  • How will the father of my children respond to my dating life?

In a romantic relationship, you deserve to be loved and valued as a woman. As a mother, you are responsible for demonstrating good connections to your children. The dating process should be treated with prudence and optimism.

Sleep Problems

According to the Center for Disease Control, persons who get the least amount of sleep are more likely to be single mothers. From sleep concerns to home responsibilities, single mothers have a lot on their plates at night. Even though this may appear to be the only opportunity to complete tasks, poor sleep can lead to major problems such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart illness
  • Depression

Stress Management

Mothers typically place themselves last. This noble concept can result in poor health and a negative mindset. Being a single mother is difficult and understandably taxing. The saying “you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself” should be kept in mind. This is especially true for single mothers who bear the entire world on their shoulders. There are numerous simple techniques to reduce daily stress that will not only keep you feeling well but also help you become the greatest mother possible.

  • Participate in regular physical activity, either alone or with your children.
  • Find a friend or family member with whom you may routinely rant, someone who will simply listen and not necessarily attempt to help you.
  • Attempt breathing exercises to soothe your nerves.
  • Plan routine adult activities with pals.
  • Choose a pastime that is calming, such as reading or knitting.

Seeking Assistance

Managing work, home, parenting responsibilities, and personal desires may be challenging and daunting. Accepting assistance when it is offered and actively seeking support can expedite the adjustment to a new normal. There are numerous free and simple ways to find assistance and support in every part of life:

  • Friends and relatives
  • Motherhood support groups such as MOPS and Parents Without Partners
  • Governmental and informative websites such as Single Parent Advocate
  • Local workshops and playgroups for families


  1. Monic Lyn social media name (Mukanza Monica)

    Almost the same as in my country just I think in my country is even worse experience that this of the Philippines ?, the challenges affect even the future of the children specifically the girls!. When you are ready to conduct a survey in my country I am ready and will be happy to be part of the respondents, including my women community!. Great work thank you all ?

  2. Monic Lyn social media name (Mukanza Monica)

    I have a story myself from the experience of single motherhood which will show you a picture of single Parenthood in my country Uganda, and I don’t care sharing it anytime you want me to. Keep up the great work please ?

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