Press Release
July 30, 2012


Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada today reiterated his call for the immediate passage and enactment of the Kasambahay Bill, following a disturbing case of a house helper who almost completely lost her vision after her employer pressed a hot iron against her face.

"Cases of abuse and maltreatment of domestic workers like this must be stopped and prevented," asserts Sen. Estrada, who sits as concurrent Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment.

Bonita Baran, a domestic worker from Catanduanes, visited Sen. Estrada's office on Monday after recovering from an eye surgery in the Philippine General Hospital. Baran was accompanied by her mother Erlinda and sister Olivia and Public Attorney's Office (PAO) Chief Atty. Persida Rueda-Acosta.

Bonita Baran, now 21 years old, had been with her employer in Quezon City as early as she was just of minor age. Baran's forehead was severely burned; her right eye is now totally blind, while the left eye is partially blind. Baran sustained serious injuries and bruises all over her body due to alleged repeated beating and hitting. She also has deformed ear and lips, after her female employer battered it with a figurine.

"Ang gusto ko lang, mabigyan ng hustisya si Bonita at makulong itong amo niya at pagbayaran niya ang lahat ng ginawa dito sa kasambahay. Kung naipasa sana yung Kasambahay Bill, sana nakatulong sa mga katulad niyang kasambahay," Sen. Estrada declares.

Atty. Acosta said that they are planning to file eight counts of serious physical injuries and frustrated murder.

Kasambahay Bill is a landmark legislation which defines the labor rights, increases the minimum wages and provides regular employment benefits for the domestic household workforce, including the maids, houseboys and yayas. The measure has been approved by the Senate on third and final reading last December 2010. The House of Representatives, meanwhile, is expected to pass their version of the bill.

Sen. Estrada recently co-sponsored proposed Senate Resolution 816 concurring with the ratification of ILO Convention 189 which sets the minimum standards for decent work for domestic workers and provides them with the same protection accorded to other workers.

"With the enactment of Batas Kasambahay, people will recognize domestic work as a formal sector of the economy and each kasambahay needs to be treated with the same respect and dignity with regular members of the able workforce. I hope that the era of treating them as slaves and lesser mortals will end with the passage of this bill," Jinggoy maintained.

Sen. Estrada expressed confidence that the bill will finally be enacted within the last session of the 15th Congress. "Ako ay kumpiyansa na magiging isang ganap na batas ngayong Kongreso ang Kasambahay Bill. Kung hindi, pagpasok ng 16th Congress, balik na naman sa umpisa. Huwag naman sana," Sen. Estrada ended.

Kasambahay Bill was originally filed during the 10th Congress (1995-1998) and has failed to be enacted since.

Sen. Estrada also supported the sentiments of the PAO Chief who said, "Buti pa iyong mga hayop, may Animal Welfare Act. Ang mga katulong, walang househelpers welfare act. Sana maipasa ng Kongreso yung batas para sa mga katulong. At sana maging heinous crime yung pananakit sa katulong na ginagawa ng mga among walang awa."

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