Editorial: Go at your own risk-A A +A
Saturday, January 12, 2013
NO LESS than the International Labour Organization reported that of the more than 21 million domestic workers all over the world, of which 80 percent are women, Asia leads in numbers but is at the tail-end with regards legal protection and working conditions.
It’s not as if we know that. It just comes out this time as an official study of ILO, which should be used to thump on the desks of authorities who are always quick to say they are doing their jobs, but can only show pathetic results for it – DH coming home in caskets, with an eye or a limb missing, or in a non-functional psychological state.
While it was noted that the Kasambahay Bill extends some legal protection for the domestic worker, it also noted that this only works where such law can apply. Definitely not in the countries that employ our domestic workers; where battering and abuses are most prolific.
This is confirmed in the report as it reads: “The situation is even bleaker for the Middle East, where, among those countries with available data, Jordan is the only one that covers domestic workers through its labor legislation (in the form of specific labor laws). This leaves an estimated 99 per cent of all domestic workers in the region outside the scope of labor legislation. Some countries in the region, namely Kuwait and Lebanon, regulate domestic work through mandatory standard employment contracts. Likewise, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have announced plans to introduce standard contracts that outline recruitment conditions and basic rights of domestic workers.”
Further, the report reads, only three per cent of Asia’s domestic workers are entitled to a weekly day of rest, whereas globally more than half of domestic workers have this right. In addition, only one per cent of domestic workers in Asia Pacific have statutory limits to their normal maximum weekly working hours; by contrast, more than three-quarters of their counterparts in Latin America enjoy such protection.
The situation is made worse by the illegal recruiters whose promises of a better future are always able to entice the hopeless, the long-time jobless, and because of typhoon Pablo, as often warned, those who have lost livelihood, homes, and families.
With national government not able to give ample protection, the bigger challenge now is for the locals to provide the opportunities. How? We just have to work it out among ourselves, where enterprises are encouraged to institutionalize improvement of skills and better employment opportunities and entrepreneurship is fanned beyond just the sari-sari store and “paglalako” concept of selling.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 12, 2013.