While much Media airtime is given to the abuse of domestic workers employed in foreign countries, not much interest seems to go the way of domestic workers employed by households in the Philippines. Faded star of the 1980s Maricel Soriano provides the most recent of cases that highlight the plight of domestic workers employed by Filipinos.
According to the ABS-CBN News report…
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Two female household workers of Maricel Soriano have accused the Diamond Star of physically and verbally abusing them, with one of them saying that she even threatened to shoot her.
Camille Acojedo, 18 and May Cachuela, 22, claimed they suffered physical and verbal abuse after being hired to work for Soriano on June 18.
They complained that Soriano would constantly hurled [sic] expletives at them.
According to Acojedo, there were times that they would miss their meals just to attend to the veteran actressâ€™ needs.
Philippine cinema often portrays the “victims” of society — impoverished Filipinos seeking greener pastures in the Big City — as its protagonists and their exploitative employers as the evil villains. Thus there is some irony in these reports of diva Maricel Soriano treating her servants in a way consistent with the character of the quintessential Filipino bad guy as archetyped in Filipino movies.
According to an International Labour Organization (ILO) report, about 2.5 million Filipino households rely on domestic workers. Many of these workers are poor migrants from the country’s impoverished rural regions and are often underage and under-schooled. And despite the Philippine middle classes and above referring to themselves as “civil society”, abuse of domestic workers is rife and transcends class…
Even household employers of stature in society, such as Mila’s teacher-employers, can be guilty of abuses; a distorted view of domestic service allows these practices to be perpetuated. In many cultures the engagement of domestic services is relegated to the level of “domestic helpers or household servants”.
There are many “movements” and “initiatives” that aim to uplift the lives of the “have-nots” which solicit the support from the “haves” of the Philippines. Perhaps it is time that we examine the well-being of the people we are in the best position to help — the people we employ as domestic servants. Perhaps doing so may not provide the same photo-op opportunities or fodder for our Facebook “sharing” activities, but the results, at the very least, are more real.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.