DAVAO CITY — An official of the Department of Labor and Employment in the region admitted that they have limitations in monitoring the strict implementation of the three-year old Kasambahay Law, which is meant to protect domestic helpers in the country.

Republic Act 10361 or An Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Helpers, mandates the protection of domestic workers against abuse, harassment, violence, economic exploitation and performance of work that is hazardous to their physical and mental health.

The law covers all domestic workers, whether live-in or live-out arrangement “such as, but not limited to: general househelp, yaya, cook, gardener, laundry person, working children or domestic workers 15 years and above but below 18 years of age; or any person who regularly performs domestic work in one household on an occupational basis.”

The law also mandates the benefits of the helpers to include: monthly minimum wage, daily rest period of eight hours, weekly rest period of 24 (uninterrupted) hours, five days annual service incentive leave with pay, 13th month pay, Social Security System benefit, PhilHealth benefit and Pag-Ibig benefit.

However, Kasambahay Regional Coordinator of DOLE XI, Rodrigo Roble said they received a complaint regarding the non-issuance of the helper’s benefits.

“Yun nga din yung limitation natin, kasi po ang DOLE walang visiting power doon sa kung papaano malaman kung paano pinapasahod (That’s our limitation, because DOLE has no visiting power in the households so how would we know their cases with regards to how the employers give them their salaries),” said Rodrigo.

Speaking before members of the media in a press conference Wednesday, Roble said they are increasing awareness on the Kasambahay Law.

Roble said they will hold a forum regarding the law on January 18 at the DOLE 11 Activity Center, in time for the commemoration of the passing of the law in 2013.

“We invited 50 punong barangays of Davao City and we have also invited a dozen of president of subdivision homeowners association,” said Roble.

He said the national Kasambahay Day will also be held on January 31 where they invited 150 kasambahay (helpers).

The activity will be held in San Pedro College.

Roble said the event will include free services for the helpers including free massage, haircut, and zumba.

Roble also announced that they will be creating Task Kasambahay to improve the implementation of the law.

“This coming January 18, will be the 3rd year sa atuang (of our) Kasambahay law. So the Department of Labor and Employment together with the DILG and other agencies like SSS, Pag-Ibig, Philhealth, Department of Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Information Agency will be having a MOA signing pertaining to the creation of task Kasambahay,” said Roble.

He said this will be done to have a “convergence effort” for the implementation of the Kasambahay Law.

Roble said that upon formalizing the task group, they will discuss the role of each agency in the implementation of the law.

The task group will also have DOLE as its lead agency.

He added that this convergence team would also help in addressing concerns regarding the benefits and rights of domestic helpers such as SSS, Philhealth, and minimum rate of their salary.

Roble said the minimum wage for house help in Davao City is P2,000, P2,500 in Manila and P1,500 in rural areas.

He also called out on helpers to reach DOLE’s office and ask about their rights and benefits. (With a report from Kristine Ina Magdosa/Davao Today Intern)

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