Sunday, June 19, 2011

Congress to heed ILO resolution

Manila Bulletin
June 19, 2011, 5:37pm

MANILA, Philippines -- The chairman of the House Committee on Labor Sunday vowed to heed the International Labor Organization’s resolution seeking more benefits and better labor conditions for household helpers or kasambahay, saying that pending measures will be prioritized by the legislative body.

Northern Samar Rep. Emil Ong, head of the Philippine delegation to the ILO convention in Geneva, Switzerland, said various legislative proposals that were filed before his committee will be immediately taken up as soon as Congress session resumes next months.

Among the bills filed are HB 4477 or the Kasambahay measured authored by Ong and House Bill 0003, a proposal granting scholarship and education benefits for deserving house helpers.

HB 0003 has been refilled by newly-inducted Ilocos Sur Rep. Ryan Luis Singson. Singson said the bill was originally filed by his elder brother, former Rep. Ronald Singson, whom he replaced following a special election held last month.

“The right to education should not be denied our kasambahay. Extreme poverty has denied many of them this right, we must help them regain it,” Singson said.

The new lawmaker lauded the labor committee for agreeing to prioritize pro-kasambahay measures even as he vowed to support other bills that would extend domestic helpers employed locally and abroad more benefits and better protection against abuses.

In batting for the approval of HB 4477, Ong cited a study conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) indicating that around 215 million children are employed around the world.

HB 4477 prohibits the hiring of minors under 18 years old as househelpers.

Ong said the so-called Kasambahay bill protects minors against many forms of abuses committed mostly by employers.

“They do not go to school and have little time or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition care, practically denied the chance to be children,” he said.

In the Philippines, the number of domestic workers ranges from 600,000 to 2.5 million.


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