Thursday, May 23, 2013
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada lauds the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) for defining the mechanisms for the protection, rescue and rehabilitation of domestic workers in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Batas Kasambahay.
“Apart from ensuring the promotion of overall welfare and protection of around two million domestic workers in the country, we aim to lay out the general policies and put up systems for the immediate rescue and relief of abused kasambahay that we sadly hear about every now and then,” Jinggoy, the author and main sponsor of the law said.
Sen. Estrada cited the case of kasambahay Bonita Baran who was maltreated by her employer and had no clear idea where she will go for assistance and what she will do to get help.
Estrada, in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, launched a Senate inquiry into her case and incorporated its findings to the final version of the measure.
Jinggoy hopes that with the release and publication of the IRR of the Batas Kasambahay, cases of maltreatment and abuse will be immediately and effectively responded to, and be given proper and just conclusion.
Rule X of the IRR prescribes that any abused kasambahay shall be immediately rescued by a municipal or city social welfare officer in coordination with the concerned barangay officials and law enforcement personnel.
“Abuse” refers to any act or a series of acts committed by an employer or any member of his/her household against any kasambahay which results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or economic abuse (e.g. withholding of wages), including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.
Any act of abuse committed against a kasambahay may be reported to any official of the barangay where the abuse occurred, any social worker, any police officer from the Women and Children Protection Desks, or any officer of the Public Employment Service Office (PESO).
Section 5, Rule X of the IRR also states that “At all times, the rescue team shall ensure the full protection of the rights of the abused kasambahay and the accused while under its custody and control.”
Moreover, no action or suit shall be brought in any court or before any authority against any social worker, law enforcement officer, person acting in compliance with the lawful order from any of the above for lawful acts done during an authorized rescue operation or investigation or prosecution of an abused case involving a kasambahay.
Meanwhile, the local social welfare and development offices (LSWDOs) shall make available the following services for the abused kasambahay: temporary shelter, counselling, free legal services, medical or psychological services, livelihood and skills training, among others.
As a way of monitoring, there shall also be a registration system for kasambahay.
Section 1 of Rule IX states that every employer shall register a kasambahay under his/her employment in the barangay where his/her residence is located. The Punong Barangay, together with SSS, Pag-IBIG and PhilHealth representatives, shall conduct a common registration of all kasambahay nationwide. A start-up registration shall be held in the city or municipal hall or plaza.
Lastly, the IRR also stipulates mechanism for settlement and disposition of labor-related disputes.
Section 1 of Rule XI states that all labor-related disputes shall be filed before the DoLE Field/Provincial/Regional Offices having jurisdiction over the workplace and shall go through the 30-day mandatory conciliation.
Conciliation, an alternative dispute settlement mode, is a non-litigious, less expensive and expeditious mechanism which assists contending parties towards reaching their own mutually-acceptable settlement to the labor dispute.
Republic Act 10361 otherwise known as Batas Kasambahay was signed into law last January 18, 2013. The same date will now be known as “Araw ng mga Kasambahay.”
The DoLE published last May 19 the implementing rules and regulations pursuant to RA 10361 or the “Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of the Domestic Workers.”
The IRR will take effect 15 days after its publication.
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