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FACE OFF. The rescued kasambahay along with her mother appearing before the Barangay Chairman accompanied by representatives from Provincial PESO, DOLE Laguna and Provincial DSWD to confront the allegedly abusive employer summoned to respond to the complaint.

Her story can make you cry or seethe in anger. Her life as a kasambahay has all the elements and twists of a blockbuster telenovela but surely nothing will compare to what the nineteen-year-old Erlinda (not her real name) of Quezon, Province endured in the hands of her employer.

One page of a yellow pad stands as a mute witness to her harrowing experience as a kasambahay at a household in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. With a pen in hand, she shared her story and filled every space to record her pain, anguish and suffering. The words came in so strongly like the outpour of tears in her eyes as she remembered every sordid detail.

Her tale of suffering started in the month of September 2016 as she recalled tearfully:

“Simula September po ay sinasaktan na niya ako ….kapag nahuli niya po ako na nakakatulog dahil sa sobrang pagod ay sinasampal po ako …sinasabunutan ..tapos pinapatalon po ako..una ay one hundred tapos ay two hundred ..hanggang three hundred…binabaan ang sweldo ko at sinabihan na ako ay malas simula ng maging katulong niya ako…tinawag din akong demonyo at dinuraan niya po ako sa mukha….dun po ako pinag –ccr sa kanilang sagingan… doon naman po ako naiihi at nagbibihis sa may garahe ..hindi po ako nakakatawag sa aking pamilya dahil hindi na ako makapag charge ng cellphone dahil hindi naman daw po ako ang nagbabayad ng kuryente”

(It was in September when she started hurting me. If she caught me sleeping due to exhaustion, she would slap me and pull my hair. She would also make me jump from a hundred times to three hundred times as she blamed me for bringing bad luck to her family since I started working for them. She called me a demon and spat on my face. I was forced to defecate in their backyard and urinate and change clothes in their garage. I cannot call my family since they did not allow me to charge my phone as I was not the one paying the electric bill.)

Dear Lady Justice. The ill-treated kasambahay sharing her excruciating work experience as a household helper in a residential place in Sta. Cruz who managed to write down all her anguish in a piece of a yellow paper. 

Her ordeal ended when she was rescued by barangay officials through the efforts of kind residents who can no longer bear to see her suffering .They can no longer tolerate the fact that one of their neighbors is a sadistic employer.

Like the plots in TV Dramas, Erlinda got to redeem her self-respect and dignity when DOLE Laguna Provincial Office, Laguna Provincial PESO social workers and the barangay officials banded together to help her.

In them, she found the courage to speak up and recount her ordeal. In return, they provided her comfort and assistance in starting over a new life beyond the four walls of her employer’s house where she spent the worst times of her life.

The employer had no choice when she was personally summoned by their barangay chairman to a conference in the morning of May 18, 2017. Accompanying Erlinda to the conference were Provincial PESO Manager Mary Jane B. Corcuera, DOLE Sr. LEO Rudy Sinay, and LGU officers, Jovita M. Valdeabella, Marita Barcia and Mark Elizar Guzman.

Although painful on her part, she again recollected her ordeal at the hands of her employer while her mother comforted her. Being the simple lass who only wanted a job, she refused to press for charges against her employer only asking for her unpaid salaries to go back home.

The conference at the barangay gave Erlinda more than her simple request. Aside from the amount of P19,500.00 representing her money claims, her employer was tasked to pay for her SSS and Philhealth contributions for one year.

Given the ordeal that she went through, Anna never smiled the moment she set foot again in the place where her suffering began. But, she must confront her past to secure her future. In the short span of time at the barangay hall, she regained her composure as the employer was confronted and ordered into submission. It was her redeeming moment.

Leaving the barangay hall with her mother, she managed to smile as she bid farewell. It was more than enough for a reward to her rescuers.

For DOLE Regional Director Ma. Zenaida A. Angara-Campita, Erlinda’s case is a testament to DOLE’s fortitude to workers’ welfare. She stated that,

“We never blink an eye when it comes to enforcing the rights of kasambahays. The call for assistance was such on a short notice but we sent our staff to provide assistance to Erlinda. The staff arrived in Sta. Cruz by 8:30 a.m. and the case was settled in the barangay by lunchtime. This is how fast we react to such cases”.

DOLE Laguna Provincial OIC Guido R. Recio noted that Erlinda is just one of the kasambahays given assistance by the DOLE Laguna Provincial Office in coordination with local government units.

“Acting on the mandate of Republic Act 10361, otherwise known as the Batas Kasambahay Law, DOLE Laguna is always at the forefront in advocating for the protection and welfare of kasambahays,” he added.



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