outbrain
Close  

Still in jail, Pasay sweatshop boss slammed by biz group

In a rare move, the country’s largest umbrella organization of employers joined calls to prosecute one of their kind, in connection with last week’s “sweatshop” fire that killed eight female workers in Pasay City.

Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines president Edgardo G. Lacson said the group “strongly condemns” the incident, noting that “it is unconscionable that in this modern day and advanced era, there are still owners who apparently operate sweatshops and go around the law.”

ADVERTISEMENT

In a statement on Thursday, Lacson said the owner of Asia Metro Tech Inc., which operates from a house at 317 P. Samonte Street, Barangay 47, Zone 6, Pasay City, “should face the consequence of his act (and) the force of the law.”

He was referring to 68-year-old Juanito Go, whom police had charged with negligence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries for the May 30 fire, and also with human trafficking, a nonbailable offense. Also charged was Go’s son-in-law and property manager, Joey Cabrera.

FEATURED STORIES

The Chinese businessman and his son-in-law remained in detention as of Thursday, according to Supt. Alex Fulgar, deputy chief for operations of the Pasay police.

“No one is above the law, not even employers who wantonly disregard laws and prescribed standards—such as the Building Code and Labor Code, specifically on labor and safety standards—at the expense of workers’ life and limb,” Lacson said.

According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Asia Metro Tech, which assembled and reprogrammed electronic gadgets like cell phones, DVD players and tablets imported from China, did not have a business permit.

An investigation showed that the workers were locked up in the two-story house when the fire struck. The eight women died of suffocation in one of the upper rooms, while the others managed to escape through a wall opening for an air-conditioning unit.

According to barangay officials, Go had been operating the business for two years, and several workers had complained that they were not being allowed to leave for their home province.

The workers were reportedly paid only P2,500 to P3,000 a month, forced to work 12 hours a day and given only four days off a year.

Also on Thursday, DOLE officials said the families of the fire victims as well as the survivors may file for claims in the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) even if they were not enrolled by their employer in the Social Security System (SSS).

ADVERTISEMENT

“As long as there is an employer-employee relationship, a worker can file a compensation claim in any SSS branch,” Acting Labor Secretary Ciriaco Lagunzad said.

Lagunzad said an ECC Quick Response Team would be sent to Negros Oriental to visit the grieving families and assist them in filing for claims.

The fire survivors are currently staying in a social welfare center in Muntinlupa City. With a report from Niña Calleja

Read Next
EDITORS' PICK
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Asia Metro Tech Inc., Ciriaco Lagunzad, Department of Labor and Employment, DOLE officials, Edgardo G. Lacson, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Juanito Go, Pasay City, Social Security System, SSS
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.