Press Release
October 7, 2012


The two chambers of Congress are set to meet on Monday to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the Kasambahay Bills.

The bicameral conference committee meeting is scheduled on October 8 and 9.

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, is hopeful that both houses could report to the plenary a final version of the Batas Kasambahay before the Congress enters another session break on October 19.

"If all things go favorably, we can submit the Congress-approved version of Kasambahay Bill to President Aquino by November. The landmark legislation for all domestic workers can be enacted into law before the year ends. I believe it is the perfect present for all kasambahay this Christmas," shares Sen. Estrada, who is the principal author of the measure.

The Senate version, embodied under Senate Bill 78 which was passed as early as December 2010, seeks to amend the relevant articles of the Labor Code and provide additional benefits and protection to the househelpers.

Senate Bill 78 increases the minimum monthly wage of domestic workers from Php 800 to Php 2,500 in National Capital Region; from Php 650 to Php 2,000 in chartered cities and first-class municipalities; and from Php 500 to Php 1,500 in other municipalities.

All household helpers should also be covered by the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Home Development Mutual Fund (or PAG-IBIG) and Employees Compensation Commission (ECC).

Sen. Estrada also plans of introducing a grievance procedure for domestic workers experiencing abuse and maltreatment, following the Senate Labor Committee hearing on the harrowing case of kasambahay Bonita Baran.

On the other hand, House Bill 6144 seeks to create a special law to be known as "Domestic Workers Act," which enumerates the rights and privileges of domestic workers and establishes standards on pre-employment, employment terms and conditions, and post-employment. It also contains an article for the regulation of private employment agencies deploying domestic workers.

House Bill 6144 also delegates to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards the determination of appropriate minimum wages of domestic workers. It also drafts a penal provision of not less than Php 10,000 fine for violation of the provisions of the proposed act, without prejudice to filing appropriate civil or criminal action by the aggrieved party.

The House of Representatives passed their version of the bill last September 2012.

"Despite the differences on how they are written, I think both chambers are united in the cause of finally coming up with a measure that will protect and advance the welfare of the kasambahay," acknowledges Jinggoy.

Further, Sen. Estrada cites that the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 189 on Domestic Work will figure in the discussions on Monday as a reference for the international standards concerning domestic work. The Senate ratified the convention last August 6, 2012.

Batas Kasambahay is also poised to become the enabling law of the convention.

The Upper Chamber has named Sen. Estrada as Chairman of the Senate panel, while Senators Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano, Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr., and Manuel "Lito" Lapid are named as its members.

The House of Representatives, meanwhile, designated Representatives Emil Ong, Juan Edgardo Angara, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jr., Rufus Rodriguez, Walden Bello, Magtanggol Gunigundo, Janette Garin, Edcel Lagman and Ma. Milgaros Magsaysay as conferees to the conference committee.

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