CHR wants to strengthen Kasambahay law
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday said the Kasambahay law “has not been enough” to prevent abuse and maltreatment of household helpers, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.
In a statement, the CHR expressed its support to moves pushing for the amendment of the Republic Act (RA) 10361 or the Domestic Workers Act to ensure its firmer implementation as it describes the job of domestic workers vulnerable to abuse.
“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.
It suggested that the amendments to the law must include strengthening penalties on crimes committed against domestic workers, establishment of emergency hotlines in every barangay for distressed domestic workers, and uplifting the information dissemination about the Batas Kasambahay.
Senator Raffy Tulfo suggested the amendments to the Domestic Workers Act because of the case of domestic worker, Elvie Vergara, who is allegedly maltreated by her employers in Occidental Mindoro.
Vergara became blind allegedly due to three years of abuse by her employers.
The CHR said it supports the proposed amendments to Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code to replace the term “domestic servant” with “domestic workers” and to remove the “domestic servant” in the definition of “qualified theft” in the provision.
“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 added.
Citing a 2020 survey by the Philippines Statistics Authority and the Department of Labor and Employment, it noted that only 41 percent of household helpers know about the Kasambahay Law.
The CHR suggested that awareness and understanding of existing laws that uphold domestic helpers rights must be raised through the establishment of a Barangay Human Rights Action Centers which may be tasked to launch information campaigns about the Kasambahay law and other relevant human rights laws.
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