DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 March) – Gabriela and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) – Southern Mindanao welcomed the Kasambahay Law or Republic Act 10361, an act instituting policies for the protection and welfare of domestic workers, but said the minimum salaries stated in the law are insufficient.
Dr. Jean Lindo, Gabriela regional chair, said in an interview Wednesday that the P2,500 salary is not enough for a kasambahay (domestic worker), noting that most of them are bread winners.
Article IV, Section 24 of the law states that minimum wage of domestic workers shall not be less than P2,500 a month for those employed in the National Capital Region; P2,000 a month in chartered cities and first class municipalities; and, P1,500 in municipalities.
“Their salaries are not enough because they still have to send money home. A lot of them have to be away from their own children,” Lindo told MindaNews.
In a separate interview, KMU regional secretary general Romualdo Basilio said the minimum wages imposed by the law are not enough to support the basic needs of kasambahays and their families.
“Most Filipinos, especially women, are involved in informal jobs such as working as domestic workers because the government does not push for national industrialization, which provides adequate employment and salary,” he said.
But KMU welcomed the law as this is expected to give additional protections for domestic workers, especially against abuse, Basilio said.
“The KMU will continue to push for the legislated P125 wage hike across the board nationwide,” he added.
Wage increase is being imposed by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“The least we can do is treat them with utmost respect,” Lindo said, noting that domestic workers are the “most abused” sector, including gender-related violence.
“Since most of the kasambahays are women, they should also be covered by the Magna Carta of Women. They are entitled to all rights accorded to any human being,” Lindo said.
She cited that collectively, domestic workers here and abroad, excluding the unpaid labor, contribute more to the economy than mining companies operating in the country.
“Now that we have the Kasambahay Law, the next step is enforcement. We are good on paper but not as much when it comes to enforcement,” she said.
Councilor Leah Librado-Yap, chair of the city council’s committee on women, children and family relations, said in an interview considering the number of kasambahays in many cities, there is a need to create help desks that will ensure the monitoring, evaluation and effective implementation of such law.
“The help desks will ensure that such law will not be futile. Institutionalization of this law will be achieved if there is efficient implementation from concerned government agencies,” she said.
She added: “This is one of our objectives in pushing for a workers’ welfare and protection desk ordinance, which will include protection to kasambahays.”
The ordinance was proposed by Yap last year and is being deliberated in the city council’s committee on labor and employment.
DOLE-11 regional director Joffrey Suyao said in a media forum here Monday that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Kasambahay Law are being drafted and open for comments and recommendation.
He cited that one may visit the DOLE’s website at dole.gov.ph and click the link to the documents on Kasambahay Law, including the updated IRR draft, at the bottom of the website page.
He said drafting the IRR is within 90 days after the effectivity of RA 10361, which was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III last January 18. Its effectivity will be 15 days after its complete publication in the Official Gazette or at least two national newspapers of general circulation.
Suyao said the law was published in two national newspapers last January 23. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)