Labor groups launch ‘Pambansang Day Off’ campaign

MANILA -- Labor and domestic workers' organizations on Saturday launched the Pambansang Day Off campaign to raise awareness on their rights and call for inclusive social protection coverage for them.

The Philippine Campaign to Promote Decent Work for Domestic Workers Technical Working Group (Domestic Work TWG) said despite the enactment of Republic Act 10361 or the Batas Kasambahay which requires mandatory coverage of domestic workers by all social protection institutions, not even 10 percent of the close to two million domestic workers had been registered with the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG).

Data from September 2015 show that the SSS has 158,567 registered kasamabahays, with PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG having worse numbers at 60,603 and 86,562.

With this, the Domestic Work TWG urged President Rodrigo Duterte to declare the Pambansang Day Off on June 12, Independence Day.

They urged Duterte to allow domestic workers to take a day off on that day for them to be able to register for SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG, among others.

We want domestic workers across the country to take the day off on June 12 so that they can register to the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG together with their employers, said Julius Cainglet, vice president of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), one of the trade union members of the Domestic Work TWG.

Araw ng Kasambahay was celebrated on January 18, to commemorate the day the Kasambahay Law was enacted five years ago.

Domestic workers do not benefit from holidays as other workers do. Workers are supposed to enjoy a day off on a holiday or get double pay when they work. But for domestic workers, a holiday is just an ordinary working day, said Cainglet.

Mahalaga para sa aming mga kasambahay na magkaroon ng national day off pati na rin sa mga national holidays dahil kami ay mga manggagawa rin tulad ng ibang mga manggagawa, said Maia Montenegro, deputy secretary general of United Domestic Workers of the Philippines (United), which is one of the growing organizations of kasambahays in the country.

Hindi fully implemented ang batas pero gusto namin maramdaman na kami ay recognized ng lipunan bilang tunay na mga manggagawa. Hindi natin makakamit ang tunay na disenteng trabaho para sa mga kasambahay kung ang simpleng pahinga ay hindi nila natatamasa, she added.

Calling for a Pambansang Day Off was the result of regional conferences across the country conducted with and by domestic workers, domestic workers' organizations and trade unions late last year.

Pambansang Day Off on Araw ng Kalayaan symbolizes the need for kasambahays to be free from slavery and slave-like conditions, where domestic work is rooted worldwide, added Cainglet

Other activities in line for the Pambansang Day Off include domestic workers' rights orientations, skills training, free haircut, massage and manicure, games and raffle draws, ka-Zumba-hay and a free concert.

Source: Philippine News Agency