Global alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Migrante International today expressed support for the passage of the Kasambahay Bill that would ensure the protection of the rights of local domestic workers.
Migrante International made the statement following the case of domestic worker Bonita Baran whose face was severely burned and deformed and who was left blind after her employers allegedly pressed a hot iron onto her face.
According to Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez, the passage of a national legislation protecting the rights of local domestic workers is timely and relevant after the recent ratification of International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 189 (C189) recognizing domestic work as work.
The Philippines was the second country to have ratified the said Convention allowing for its official adoption into the ILO.
“The first Kasambahay Bill was proposed more than a decade ago and is yet to be passed into law. In the subsequent years, the number of local domestic workers in the country has increased to an estimated 2.5 million. They are therefore not an insignificant workforce and their rights should be ensured,” Martinez said.
He added that one of the key provisions in the Kasambahay Bill includes the protection of domestic workers’ human rights, recognizing the right of domestic workers to be “free from involuntary servitude, debt bondage and trafficking; the right to humane conditions of work, social protection; right to privacy; right to worship and right to education and further training”.
Also included in its provisions is the creation of dispute resolution mechanisms in the barangay level, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and the courts. “Domestic workers should be given access to justice and venue for their grievances,” he said.
Martinez said that their group supports the passage of the Kasambahay Bill to institute national legal frameworks to enforce the provisions of C189.
“How can the Philippine government assert and lobby for rights of Filipino domestic workers abroad when standards set in C189 are not being met for our domestic workers here in the country?” Martinez said. ###