Press Release
June 23, 2011

Jinggoy: Passage of "Kasambahay Bill" long overdue

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is urging his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass their version of the "Kasambahay Bill," saying its enactment is long overdue.

Sen. Estrada, concurrent chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment (COCLE), said that while recent developments in the international arena are very much welcome as a strong impetus for congressional action on the Kasambahay Bill, one need not look far to realize that household workers deserve attention and added protection.

"It has been eighteen years already since 1993 when the salaries of our kasambahays have been raised. Plus, we know that this sector of our labor force is oftentimes overworked but underpaid, delivering round the clock service at every beck and call of their employer," Sen. Estrada lamented.

In the Senate version of the bill approved on Third and Final Reading last December 2010, household workers (defined as maids, cooks, yaya, houseboys) in Metro Manila will receive P2,500 as monthly minimum wage, while those in chartered cities will receive P2,000. Senate Bill 78 also requires employers to secure membership and benefits from Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG for their house helpers.

The Senate has also approved the same proposal since the 13th Congress (2004-2007), while the original bill dates back in 1996.

Sen. Estrada also adds his voice in calling for President Noynoy Aquino to certify Kasambahay Bill as an urgent measure.

"PNoy must certify this bill as urgent as the Philippines had already committed to the international community that it will be one of the first countries to ratify the Domestic Workers Convention of 2011. Further, it is also our country as Chairman of the ILO Committee on Domestic Workers that steered the passage of this measure. Otherwise, our policies would be perceived as inconsistent and hollow," Sen. Estrada asserted.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva recently approved in the plenary Domestic Workers Convention of 2011 which sets international labor standards into the informal economy of domestic work and provides additional benefits and equal labor rights as that of a regular employee, such as day off, limit on in-kind compensation, freedom of association, among others.

To further stress his point, Sen. Estrada said that passage of this bill will greatly help in our efforts to secure better employment terms for Filipino domestic workers employed overseas.

"There's no reason not to pass the Kasambahay Bill into law. Not only will it benefit an estimated two million household workers in the Philippines, but will also promote the welfare of thousands of our kababayans abroad working as domestic helpers," Sen. Estrada said.

According to Overseas Employment Statistics of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), there are 71,557 newly hired household service workers deployed in 2009.

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