Anak ng Masa on rescue to kasambahay

THE Anak ng Masa, Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, is simply and truly like his father as far as affection and interest for poor Filipinos is concerned. To cite one, Jinggoy takes the initiative when he re-filed the “Kasambahay Bill” which eventually saw its passage at the Upper Chamber though members of the House of Representatives have yet to reconcile to come up with the counterpart measure.

An estimated two million household workers all over the country stand to benefit from the Estrada bill and this should be enough reason for our beloved congressmen to get their acts together so that a law will be finally crafted to give more protection and benefits to our endeared “kasambahay.”

Languishing in the legislative mill since 1996 when then Sen.

Francisco Tatad filed a bill during the 10th Congress as a response to the recommendations of the First National Consultation on Child Domestic Workers in the Philippines, the measure sees it light since according to Jinggoy it’s high time for its approval in order for the household helpers to have a decent living.

The senator from San Juan City says:  “This time I will make sure that this sector of our labor force, often looked down on and feeling helpless, will be guaranteed decent working condition with the passage of this bill.”

Estrada, the Senate Pro_Tempore and concurrent chairman of the committee on labor, employment and human resource development, however, laments that the Lower Chamber is apparently not so keen to pass a counterpart bill which should have been one of their priorities in the first place.

The Estrada bill requires a written employment contract between the employer and the “kasambahay” which should state the period of employment, monthly compensation, annual salary increase, duties and responsibilities, working hours and day-off schedule, and living quarters.

Under the bill, employers will also be required to enroll house helpers with the Social Security System and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). Covered are maids, cooks,
houseboys, family drivers, and “yayas” who provide full time daily service on a live-in or live-out basis, Jinggoy says.

With its Senate passage, Jinggoy says: “The usual scenarios and grievances experienced by the kasambahay such as receiving salaries in the form of promissory notes, withholding of wages, making deductions as reimbursement for loss or damage to household equipments, and being bound in continuous employment as payment for a loan will all be deemed illegal.”

In pushing the bill, Jinggoy notes that the salary of house helpers in the national capital region as stipulated in the Labor Code is way below the minimum wage as it was pegged at P800 per month. But with the Estrada bill, the minimum wage rate would be now P3, 000 a month while for those working in first-class municipalities, minimum wage will be set at P2, 500, and for those in other municipalities P2, 000 a month.

“I think that is reasonable enough, including all the benefits and social benefits, days-off etc.,” according to Jinggoy as he presses the lawmakers from the House not to vacillate saying the longer they would delay it, the longer they’re depriving them of decent working condition, benefits and labor rights. Arlie Calalo

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