MANILA — Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz is convinced that fellow Filipinos should be the first ones to respect the “kasambahay” or househelp.
“We believe Filipinos should be the first to accord our kasambahay the respect they deserve pursuant to the time-honored truism, ‘Charity begins at home,’” she said in a statement.
The DOLE chief added, “This is proper as we ourselves demand for decent work and fair and equal treatment for the thousands of Filipinos working overseas as household service workers. Let us remember that treating kasambahay with dignity is not a privilege they should earn, but a right they deserve.”
Baldoz issued the statement in the midst of a controversy regarding a special menu of an exclusive resort called ”Yaya meal” which is served to a kasambahay.
“The news that broke out this Easter weekend involving a kasambahay being treated as a second-class person in an exclusive luxurious resort could be considered discriminatory act, but not in the context of labor laws and social legislation,” she said.
However, the DOLE head noted that the incident could not be considered as violation of labor laws since it only involved a business establishment and its guest, but it shows how the society look down on kasambahay.
“Although the labelling of the meal as ‘yaya meal’ could hardly be considered a violation of labor laws or social legislation because the incident did not occur between an employer and employee, but between a business establishment and its guest or patron, the same sadly reflects a socio-cultural reality where some segments of our society still look down on kasambahay a grade lower than ordinary citizens,” Baldoz said.
“The Department of Labor and Employment is very much concerned that while efforts — such as the ratification of ILO Domestic Workers’ Convention, or Convention 189, and the enactment of Republic Act No. 10361, or the Kasambahay Law, bilateral and multilateral negotiations for the protection and welfare of domestic workers, skill upgrading, and employment facilitation to other formal work opportunities, among others — are being pursued towards giving recognition to kasambahay as members of the formal national workforce who contribute to the economic growth of our country, acts which tend to downgrade their socio-economic level and imply class segregation, like making reference to a menu as ‘yaya meal’, whether intentional or not, robs the kasambahay of their dignity as workers,” she added.
With this, Baldoz urged the Filipino people, business establishments and employers to show respect to kasambahay which they deserve.
“DOLE appeals to the sensitivity and decency of business establishments, employers of kasambahay, and all Filipinos to refrain from acts or utterances that are disrespectful of the socio-economic status of kasambahay. We urge that we treat them with respect in the same manner that we treat other formal sector workers whose labor fuel the engines of businesses in the first place,” she said.