Alex Tizon's story about his beloved "Lola" made all of us think; are we really treating our kasambahays the way that they should be treated?
Recently, a story in The Atlantic entitled “My Family’s Slave” made the rounds of the internet. Written by Alex Tizon, who sadly passed away on March of this year, the story talks about Tizon’s family, and their relationship with “Lola,” whom for more than 50 years, was treated like a slave.
The article got mixed reactions from netizens, with some praising Tizon’s honesty and his efforts to put to light Lola’s experiences. However, others felt that the story painted Tizon in a much too positive light, saying that since he was aware of Lola’s condition, he should have done more for her while she was still alive.
Regardless, the fact still remains that up until this day, there are people who treat their kasambahays as second-class citizens, with others even saying that their kasambahays have an “utang-na-loob,” or owe them something, since they are the ones feeding them and paying them. This type of thinking is dangerous as it leads to abuse, and it victimizes people.
Here are 5 important reasons why all of us should treat our kasambahays better:
They’re a part of the family
Either way you look at it, our kasambahays are a part of the family. This is especially true for those who grew up with yayas who raised them just like their own children.
Even if we’re paying them for their services, that shouldn’t be the basis for treating kasambahays as mere servants. They’re sacrificing a lot just so our lives can be more convenient, so we owe them the respect and love that they deserve.
They care about us and our family
In the Philippines, it’s not uncommon to hear about kasambahays being close with the kids they take care of as well as their bosses. Indeed, for kasambahays who’ve worked for a long time with a family, they slowly start to care for each and every family member and treat them as if they were blood relatives.
Our relationship with kasambahays go further than a regular employer-employee relationship since most kasambahays live at home, and the proximity with the family helps build a deeper relationship.
They work hard, and usually for little pay
Did you know that the minimum wage for kasambahays is 2,500 pesos a month? While the Kasambahay Law has required kasambahays to receive benefits such as with SSS, Pag-Ibig, and PhilHealth, 2,500 pesos a month is still very little pay, seeing as most kasambahays also send money to their relatives.
Couple that with the hard work that they do for us, and the very least that we can do would be to treat them better. If there’s some work around the house that we can do ourselves, like washing the dishes, or cleaning up our rooms, then we should take it upon ourselves to do those things instead of asking our kasambahays to do it for us.
A lot of them get exploited
Oftentimes, you hear stories from kasambahays where their previous employers hit them, hurt them, refuse to pay them on time, or even not allow them to have rest days.
And as their employers, it’s our responsibility to provide them a good salary, benefits, rest days, and the rights that they deserve under the Kasambahay Law. It’s the least that we can do to show them that not all employers are out to take advantage of them.
They deserve our respect
A lot of people in the country become kasambahays not because they want to, but because they don’t have any other choice. It isn’t easy for them to leave their families to go live in some stranger’s house and do the housework, take care of the kids, etc.
Which is why the least we could do would be to treat them with respect. If possible, we can even help them out if they want to go to school, or study, so that they won’t have to be kasambahays the rest of their lives.
At the end of the day, the rule that we should stick by would be to treat everyone else with love and respect. Everyone deserves the chance to make their own choices in life, and hopefully someday, stories similar to the one that Alex Tizon shared would be a thing of the past.
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