CHR: Domestic Workers Act ‘has not been enough’ vs abuses
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday said it supports moves to amend the Kasambahay law, noting that it “has not been enough” to deter maltreatment of household helpers.
According to the rights body, the kind of job that domestic workers do already makes them vulnerable to abuse. Hence, a firmer law to better safeguard them should be implemented.
“The Batas Kasambahay provides domestic workers protection in their employment, but this has not been enough to deter some employers from committing abuses and maltreatment against their kasambahay,” the CHR said in a statement.
It said that amendments to Republic Act No. 10361 or the Domestic Workers Act should include the following:
- Strengthening penalties on crimes committed against domestic workers
- Establishing emergency hotlines in every barangay for distressed domestic workers
- Uplifting the information dissemination about the Batas Kasambahay
The CHR also expressed its support to proposed amendments to Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code – on replacing the term “domestic servant” with “domestic workers” and removing the “domestic servant” in the definition of “qualified theft” in the provision.
“These proposed amendments only form part of a much broader goal to realize the fundamental principles and rights of domestic workers as articulated in the Domestic Workers Convention,” the CHR pointed out.
“After rescuing a domestic worker, other services must also be afforded to them such as, temporary shelter, counseling sessions, legal/medical/psychological services, financial assistance or livelihood, job placement, or even repatriation to her place of origin,” it also said.
Additionally, the CHR underscored the need to raise awareness and understanding of existing laws that uphold the rights of domestic helpers.
A 2020 survey conducted by the Philippines Statistics Authority and the Department of Labor and Employment showed that only 41% of household helpers knew the Kasambay law, the CHR noted.
The CHR “strongly” recommended the establishment of a Barangay Human Rights Action Centers which may be tasked to conduct information campaigns about the Kasambahay law and other relevant human rights laws.
Senator Raffy Tulfo suggested amendments to the Domestic Workers Act in the wake of domestic worker Elvie Vergara’s case, allegedly maltreated by her employers in Occidental Mindoro.
Vergara sustained injuries and became blind allegedly because her employers abused her for three years.