Domestic work serves as one of the most prominent sources of employment for Philippine women, particularly in low-income households. Starting in 2013, Filipino Household Service Workers (HSWs) or “Kasambahays,” whether domestically or locally hired, can now enjoy more decent working conditions and more rights with the enactment of the Republic Act No. 10361 or otherwise known as the “Domestic Workers Act” or “Batas Kasambahay.” To date, majority of Filipino HSWs continue to be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation due to the lack of awareness of their basic rights.

To better address such concern in their locality and as part of the city-wide celebration of Women’s Month, some fifty (50) female HSWs and marginalized beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) from Barangay Tunasan in Muntinlupa City attended the Batas Kasambahay Orientation on March 31, 2022. Said activity was held in coordination with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Muntinlupa’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO) and MUNTAPARLAS Field Office (MTPLFO) of the Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR).

The Barangay Tunasan Officials aimed to empower their local domestic helpers by acquainting them on the salient features of the said law and to check the status of the HSWs in their area.

“Nagtatag po kami ng ganitong paanyaya sa ating mga kasambahay upang malaman namin ang mga datos at bilang ng mga kasambahay sa amin pong lugar,” said Jonalyn De Borja, Social Service Coordinator of Muntinlupa LGU’s City Social Welfare and Development Office.

She added: “Nang sa gayon ay malaman namin ang nararapat na programa na ibibigay sa aming mga kasambahay dahil sa ‘di lang sila kasambahay—dapat natin sila pahalagahan at bigyan ng karapatan para sa kanilang mga trabaho.”

De Borja also said the labor department was tapped for its expertise on the subject matter to know and understand their employee privileges such as standard wages, mandatory and statutory benefits, appropriate working conditions, and complaint process should there be any violations and mistreatments in their place of work.

During the orientation of Batas Kasambahay Act, MTPLFO senior labor officer Genevieve M. De Guzman discussed the compensation packages of household helpers which include the regional minimum wage; 13th month pay; Service Incentive Leaves (SILs); working hours/days; coverage in SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG; and other similar benefits for workers in the formal sector.

Ms. Rozel Mae Tambog, a Bukidnon-native and a former domestic worker for 22-years said she did not receive any government-mandated benefits for being an on-call helper for 9 years.

“Wala pa po akong benepisyo tulad ng PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG, at SSS. Kailangan po pala talaga magkaroon ng permanenteng amo para makapag-avail ng mga benepisyo,” Tambog realized.

DOLE and the City Government of Muntinlupa remains committed to ensure continuous info dissemination of the Batas Kasambahay Act for the HSWs to ensure awareness of their basic rights and avoid vulnerability to exploitations.

END / Ericka Escalada and Christinne Jeremiah Torrecampo