Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today described the Kasambahay Bill which is expected to be signed into law by President Aquino as a major step in giving dignity and respect for some 1.9 million household workers. “The Kasambahay Bill sets standards for the protection of household workers that are consistent with international standards. It gives our household workers the dignity and respect that they deserve,” he said in statement sent from Bangladesh where he is attending a conference of the World Scouting Movement. Binay also reminded household workers that they can already sign up as members of the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) and can avail themselves of multi-purpose, calamity and housing loans. The Vice President said there were some 1,765 household workers registered as Pag-IBIG members as of September. Binay said even if the Kasambahay Bill has yet to be enacted into law, an existing law requires employers to register their househelps as members of Pag-IBIG and to pay a counterpart contribution. "Under the law, domestic workers earning P1,500 and below shall contribute 1% of their salary, while those earning P1,500 and above, shall contribute 2% of their salary. Their employers are required to contribute 2% as counterpart," Binay said. Binay, who is chair of Pag-IBIG Board of Trustees, said the agency had signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Samahan at Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawang Pantahanan sa Pilipinas (SUMAPI) providing for a joint campaign for membership registration, information dissemination, and seminars and conferences for kasambahays. Binay said kasambahays enjoy the same benefits as any Pag-IBIG member and can even apply for a housing loan of up to P400,000 if they can pay the P2,000 monthly amortization. They can also apply for a housing loan of up to P100,000 with a monthly amortization of P500. Aside from standardized pay, the Kasambahay Bill entitles domestic workers to other social benefits provided under existing laws and enrolled in the Social Security System, Philhealth, with premium payments will be shouldered by employers if the helpers receive a monthly salary below P5,000.