'Kasambahay, Kasambuhay Awards' up for laudable nannies, cooks, drivers, etc.

It’s their time to shine—from being a largely unappreciated segment of the labor force to duly recognized partners in the Filipino home and community.

The nationwide search is on for the first five recipients of the “Kasambahay, Kasambuhay Pilipinas Awards,” in honor of household workers such as nannies (yaya), cleaners, cooks, laundrymen or women, drivers and gardeners.

Spearheaded by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Senate Philippines Inc., the initiative is considered the first in the country to not only recognize the sacrifices made by the “kasambahay” but also draw focus to their “respectable” line of work.

“There are awards for doctors, engineers and teachers; our government recognizes them. But there’s none for our kasambahay. They are taken for granted. They are the least credited workforce,” Gabriel Pietro Valencia, the awards program chair, said during the launch on Wednesday.

While they show loyalty to the families they work for, household workers remain unappreciated by society at large, said Valencia, who has employed a family driver himself for the last 25 years.

Held in partnership with Palawan Pawnshop, the program seeks to “recognize the importance and the dignity of the role played by household service workers” and also “promote awareness of [their] rights and privileges” under Republic Act No. 10361 or the Domestic Workers Act.

It will also confer “recognition and respect due them for always working beside and behind us,” added Rogelio Garcia, JCI Senate Philippines national president.

To qualify for the award, nominees should be working for an employer for not less than 10 years and has no criminal record, Valencia said. They must present proof, such as photos, to show that they have been employed for the past decade.

Nomination forms are available at Palawan Pawnshop branches nationwide and can also be downloaded online through JCI’s Facebook page.

Valencia said the program has only two criteria for selecting an awardee: He or she has helped promote Filipino values, like being trustworthy, in the family and the community, and also has an inspiring story to tell.

“The awards program will attempt to draw inspirational life lessons from the simple lives and accomplishments of our loyal household workers,” Palawan Pawnshop president and CEO Bobby Castro said.

Employers are encouraged to nominate their kasambahay, Castro added.

The awarding will be held on Aug. 20. Each winner will receive a trophy, P50,000 in cash and an all-expense-paid trip for two to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Entries will be accepted up to June 30 and can be sent either through the pawnshop branches or e-mail at kasambahaypilipinas@palawanpawnshop.com.

Valencia said they intend to conduct the program annually and that plans are being drawn up to do a separate search in June for household workers based in Hong Kong and Macau.

By: Evelyn Cruz, Jovic Yee - @inquirerdotnet