'Help stranded kasambahay return home safely’ — Sen. Pangilinan

Published June 16, 2020, 3:19 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Mario B. Casayuran

Opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan on Tuesday called for a safe, systematic way to safely bring home household helpers working in the city or abroad who want to return to their families.

Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan (Photo from Kiko Pangilinan website / kikopangilinan.com / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan (Photo from Kiko Pangilinan website / kikopangilinan.com / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party (LP), issued the statement as the country celebrates International Domestic Workers’ Day and remembers how Michelle Silvertino, 33, a mother of four, died at a footbridge at EDSA where she was stranded because she could not get a ride to the Bicol region.

Like many single mothers, Silvertino wanted to work abroad to provide for her children. However, she was forced to work in the metropolis after she failed her medical tests, a requirement for overseas work, Pangilinan said.

‘’During the three-month enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, she worked as a domestic helper in Antipolo City. When quarantine measures eased on June 1, she planned to go home, but the absence of public transport forced her to stay on a footbridge in Pasay City, where she died and was eventually buried,’’ he added.

“Si Michelle ang mukha ng libo-libo, kung hindi man milyon-milyon, na mga Pilipinong napinsala ng kawalang-linaw sa mga plano ng pagpapatupad ng mga community quarantines. Pinayagan na ang pagbyahe, pero sa maraming walang sariling sasakyan, naging dagdag-pasakit lang ito dahil na-i-stranded o kaya ay napapagod sa kakalakad para lang makarating sa trabaho at makabalik sa tahanan,” Pangilinan said. (Michele represents the face of thousands, if not millions, who were negatively affected by the lack of plans in implementing the community quarantine measures. Government allowed the resumption of transport services but many do not have their personal vehicles. Many had to walk to and from their workplaces while others were stranded.)

“Ni hindi siya nanghingi ng pagkain o palimos, gusto lang niyang makauwi,” he said. (Michelle did not ask for food nor beg, she just wanted to go home.)

To address the problem, Pangilinan said his office is planning to set up ‘’Project Michelle’’ to help all those similarly situated who wish to go back home.

Compared to the rates eight years ago, the current rate for ‘kasambahay’ in the Metro Manila area ranges from P4,000 to P6,000 month.

“Essential sila sa maraming pamilyang Pilipino. Yaya, cook, cleaner ang mga ginagampanan nilang trabaho,” Pangilinan said. (They are essential to many Filipino homes. They work as maid, cook or cleaners.)

At the same time, Pangilinan called on the government to strengthen support for returning domestic workers from abroad who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Pangilinan said domestic workers should join labor groups so that they are able to collectively find solutions to the challenges they face.