Senate ratifies Kasambahay billBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate ratified on Tuesday the “Kasambahay” bill, which sets the monthly minimum wages of domestic workers at P2,500 for those working in the National Capital Region.
The move came just a day after the House of Representatives ratified the measure.
Senate Pro-Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment, said the measure will now be submitted to President Benigno Aquino III for signature.
“I feel relieved,” Estrada said over the phone after the bill was ratified on the floor.
But the senator said the measure would not be immediately implemented this year because the President has yet to sign it and it must be published first on national newspapers.
Under the bill, househelpers working in chartered cities and first-class municipalities will receive a minimum wage of P2,000 and P1, 500 for those in other municipalities.
Vice President Jejomar Binay lauded the impending enactment of the bill into law, saying “it was a major step in giving dignity and respect for some 1.9 million household workers.”
“The Kasambahay Bill sets standards for the protection of household workers that are consistent with international standards. It gives our household workers the dignity and respect that they deserve,” Binay said in a statement.
Once signed into law, Binay said, household workers can immediately sign up as members of the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) and avail themselves of multi-purpose, calamity and housing loans.
The Vice President is also chair of Pag-IBIG Board of Trustees.
As of September this year, Binay said, there were some 1,765 household workers already registered as Pag-IBIG members.
He pointed out an existing law, which requires employers to register their househelps as members of Pag-IBIG and pay a counterpart contribution.
“Under the law, domestic workers earning P1,500 and below shall contribute 1% of their salary, while those earning P1,500 and above, shall contribute 2% of their salary. Their employers are required to contribute 2% as counterpart,” Binay said.
He said househelpers also enjoy the same benefits as any Pag-IBIG member and can even apply for a housing loan of up to P400,000 if they can pay the P2,000 monthly amortization.
“They can also apply for a housing loan of up to P100,000 with a monthly amortization of P500,’ the Vice President added.