Tolentino seeks stronger Kasambahay Law

December 6, 2023 People's Tonight 146 views

SENATOR Francis “Tol” N. Tolentino, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, taking the cudgels for abused kasambahays, sponsored Committee Report No. 170 recommending higher penalties for violation of the Kasambahay Law.

Committee Report No. 170 contains the results of the motu proprio investigation initiated by Senator Tolentino after reports of alleged maltreatment of Ms. Elvie Vergara appeared on social media.

Despite the enactment of Republic Act 10361 or the Batas Kasambahay, kasambahays or domestic workers still suffer various forms of abuses perpetrated by their employers such as no day-offs and holidays, below minimum wage and no proper mandatory benefits, economic and sexual exploitation, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and hazardous work environment.

Thus, Tolentino recommended to amend the Batas Kasambahay (RA 10361) by: 1) providing specific criminal liability for abusive employers with corresponding penalties for any death or physical injuries sustained by the Kasambahay, 2) to make any Local Government Official or employee, whose help has been sought by an abused kasambahay but failed to take action nor document the same, 3) establish a Kasambahay Registry and Kasambahay Help Desk and/or Kasambahay Hotline in every barangay hall, municipal or city hall, and in every municipal, city, or regional offices of DSWD, DOLE 4) call upon the DSWD, DILG, DOLE, DOJ, CHR, and other involved agencies of the government to strengthen their coordination, through up-to-date agreements and memoranda pertaining to the monitoring of our kasambahay. Moreover, Sen. Tolentino proposed the need to revisit the role of the PNP Women’s Desk.

Tolentino also reported that criminal cases for serious illegal detention and serious physical injuries under the Revised Penal Code, and violations of the anti-human trafficking law, and the Kasambahay Law were filed against the alleged abusers of Ms. Elvie Veraga. Said criminal cases were filed against them before the Office of City Prosecutor of Batangas City which was already transferred to the Department of Justice Central Office, by virtue of Department Order No. 611 dated November 6, 2023.

“The Senate must show to everyone that it is not a chamber only for the privileged few, but is the Senate of the people. It is high time that we come together as a society to ensure that our kasambahays are provided with the respect, protection, and fair treatment they rightfully deserve. This includes guaranteeing them a safe and healthy working environment, fair compensation, reasonable working hours, and access to essential benefits such as social security, healthcare, and paid leave. Let us remember that their labor, like any other, should be dignified and respected,” the lawmaker emphasized.