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Proposed ordinance for house helps gets support

CEBU, Philippines – Different organizations showed their support to the proposed ordinance intended to protect the rights of house helps in the city.

The proposed ordinance, dubbed as the “Kasambahay Program in the City of Cebu,” provides for penalties for “any form of violence” on house helps, as well as measures to protect their rights. The proposed measure was passed by Councilor Lea Japson.

One of the groups that attended the public hearing at the City Council was the Samahan at Ugnayan nang mga Manggagawang Pantahan sa Pilipinas, a group composed of house helps.

SUMAPI organizer Glaiza Dedicatoria said the proposed ordinance would certainly help protect the rights of house helps from violence. She said there have been many cases of violence against house helps by their employers but no law has been passed specifically to address the problem.

Another group, Bantay Banay, said the ordinance is important because it recognizes the needed protection of a big yet vulnerable sector composed by house helps.

The proposed ordinance protects house helps from forms of violence from their employers such as slapping, kicking, pulling of hair, hitting with an object that would cause injury and deprivation of food.

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The proposal further protects house helps from “psychological and economic violence” such as holding back of salary and deductions from their pay without basis.

If approved, the proposed ordinance would also pave the way for house helps to avail of existing programs for their welfare, including their registration in the barangays where their employers reside and referral of employer- house help conflicts to the barangay’s Kasambahay Desk.

The ordinance will undergo a third hearing. — AJ de la Torre/JMO (THE FREEMAN)

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