The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development on Wednesday, January 25 honored 10 outstanding household workers as part of the 10th year anniversary of the “Batas Kasambahay,” also known as the Domestic Workers Act or Republic Act No. 10361.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, primary author and sponsor of the landmark law, said that along with the signing by former President Benigno Aquino III of RA 10361, 10 years ago, was the establishment of “Housekeepers’ Day” every January 18th of the year.
“As the principal author and sponsor of this law, it is my duty to make the commemoration of its enactment more meaningful by honoring our outstanding companions in our daily lives,” Estrada said in Filipino during the simple ceremony held at the Senate.
The 10 household workers who were honored by the committee were Luzviminda C. Alvarado (Albay), Jessa Bation (Iligan City), Mercedita Gaballo (Zamboanga City), Grace Gentapa (Davao), Eda Longanilla (Koronadal City), Meralyn Madria (CDO), Virginita Magay (Makati City), Irma Pamposa (Pampanga), Emilia Rodriguez (San Juan), Aida Rosales (Talisay City).
In his speech, Estrada commended the exemplary household workers for having demonstrated standing as a real parent to the children of their respective employers and reciprocated their love.
Estrada also commended one of the household workers for proving that having a disability is not a barrier to being a good maid. By being housekeepers, they also showed the way to lift themselves and their loved ones out of poverty.
Also present during the awarding ceremony were Senators Cynthia Villar, Robin Padilla, and Francis Tolentino. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma also attended the event.
At the same time, the Senate panel lauded the employers who endorsed the awardees who were also present at the awarding ceremony.
“Let’s applaud them. You too are special because you did not deny your housemates their rights and you considered them as members of your family,” he said.
Estrada recalled that from the time the Labor Code took effect in 1974, it took the legislature 19 years to amend only one provision increasing the minimum wage of domestic workers with the enactment of RA 7655 n August 1993.
It also took 19 years before Congress was able to enact into law the proposed “Batas Kasambahay.”
“And now, 10 years after the Domestic Law became complete, we’re now reaping the fruits of our labor and I am very happy that many are abiding by the law and more and more are abiding by the law,” he said.
“If our overseas Filipino workers are considered modern-day heroes, our domestic workers are the ‘unsung heroes’,” added the senator.