September 28, 2010
Jinggoy: Passage of Kasambahay bill instrumental
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said that the passage of the Kasambahay Bill will be a great leap forward not only for the household workers in the Philippines, but also for the Filipino domestic workers overseas.
In a public hearing conducted last Monday by the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development chaired by Sen. Estrada, it was learned that some member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and countries in the Middle East do not have a comprehensive welfare act for domestic workers.
"Once approved by the Congress and enacted into law, the Kasambahay law could become the model legislation where a similar "Kasambahay Law" for RP's neighboring nations can be patterned after," Sen. Estrada says.
"We passed the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act in 2003 or Republic Act 9208 through the stewardship of my mother Sen. Loi Estrada. It motivated other states to enact a similar law and the Philippines even led a discussion towards enactment of an anti-human trafficking policy and resolution of its related issues," recalls Sen. Estrada.
Kasambahay Bill (Senate Bill Nos. 7, 78, 2138) provides additional benefits and protection to household workers, which include maids, cooks, yayas, and houseboys. It mandates membership of kasambahay to Social Security System (SSS) and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
The proposed measure also prescribes minimum wage rates for the kasambahay - P3,000/month for those employed in the National Capital Region, P2,500/month for those employed in first class municipalities and chartered cities, and P2,000/month for those in other municipalities*. It also contains provisions prohibiting bonded labor and withholding of wages.
Moreover, the bill espouses a registration system of domestic workers to be established by the local government unit for the mutual protection of the kasambahay and the employer.
Sen. Estrada also asserted that in light of recent developments in the international community such as the adoption of resolution placing on the agenda of the next ordinary session of the International Labour Conference the issue of decent work for domestic workers last June 2010 and the election of Philippine representative as chairperson of the committee on domestic workers in ILC, it becomes imperative that we show our resolve to address the unfair and indecent labor practices experienced by the kasambahay.
"Passage of the Kasambahay bill will send a strong message to the host countries of overseas Filipino workers where a considerable number are employed as domestic workers that we are serious in protecting the labor and human rights of our compatriots. Kung hindi tayo magkakaroon ng sariling batas para sa mga kasambahay, paano natin mailalaban ang isang bilateral labor agreement na kikilala sa mga karapatan ng ating kababayang nagta-trabaho bilang mga kasambahay abroad?" Sen. Estrada maintains.
The proposed Kasambahay Bill was already passed by the Senate in November 2007 in the 14th Congress; however its counterpart bill in the House of Representatives remained unacted upon.
*Minimum wage rates are based on Senate Bill No. 78 authored by Sen. Estrada. Senate Bill Nos. 7 and 2138 by Sen. Legarda and Sen. Lapid respectively, propose different wage rates.
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