NAPC: Valenzuela officials, DOLE, BFP ‘guilty of negligence’ for Kentex tragedy
THE National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) said that aside from the Kentex Manufacturing Corp., officials of Valenzuela City, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Department of Labor and Employment should be held liable for the death of 72 people, 69 of whom were workers.
In a statement, Edwin Bustillos, Sectoral Representative of NAPC Formal Labor and Migrant Workers Sectoral Council, said that it is “incredible” that all safety and labor violations of Kentex have not been addressed by BFP, DOLE and the Valenzuela City despite the various inspections they conducted on the slippers factory.
“It is incredible that with all the supposed multiple and regular ‘inspections’ conducted by the City Hall, BFP, and DOLE, yet their ‘inspectors’ have miserably failed to notice the very obvious fire hazards posed by the building and the very open violations of management of the general labor standards and occupational safety and health standards,” Bustillos said.
“The violations of Kentex on safety and health standards were left unnoticed by regular inspections by City Hall, the BFP, and the DOLE. The local officials of Valenzuela are guilty of negligence of duty,” the statement read.
The NAPC said the slippers factory is a “place of death.”
“Kentex Manufacturing Corp. must pay for the lost lives of 69 workers who were gutted in a terrible fire on May 13. There were no sufficient fire exits. Iron grills and wire mesh barred the workers to safety. No sprinklers. And the factory was overcrowded. It was not a place for work but a place of death,” it added.
Various investigations conducted on the aftermath of the deadly seven-hour fire last May 13 revealed that Kentex engaged in a contract with an unregistered subcontractor CJC Manpower Services and violated labor laws by paying workers below minimum wage and not paying SSS and PhilHealth contributions.
DOLE knew Kentex hired illegal subcontractor, says lawmaker
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.