Bayan: Aquino’s selective ‘daang matuwid’ spares DOLE in Kentex fire
An umbrella militant group on Tuesday said labor officials should also be held accountable for the seven-hour fire in Valenzuela City which gutted a slippers factory and killed 72 people.
In a statement, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) hit President Benigno Aquino III for allowing Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) officials to skirt liability over the tragic incident.
“It would be a great injustice if the accountability for the Kentex fire will be limited to the management, the manpower agency and the LGU. The DOLE should be similarly held accountable. To leave DOLE off the hook emboldens labor officials themselves to further commit violations. Aquino’s ‘daang matuwid’ is again exposed as selective,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said.
In a press briefing on Monday, Aquino said the local government of Valenzuela City issued a business permit and certificate of occupancy to Kentex Manufacturing Corp. despite its noncompliance to fire safety standards. The President also lauded the Bureau of Fire Protection for doing its job in determining the lapses committed by Kentex.
Valenzuela City is led by Mayor Rex Gatchalian, brother of Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, who is a member of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance.
“President Benigno Aquino III seems only interested in going after the Kentex management and Valenzuela Mayor Gatchalian but has no interest in holding government labor officials accountable for the deadly factory fire last May 13,” Reyes said.
The militant group also slammed DOLE for its supposed failure to “stop the practice of labor only contracting involving what appeared to be an illegal manpower agency.”
“The probe by the House labor committee last May 20 clearly showed otherwise. Not only did DOLE not scrutinize compliance of labor safety standards, it also failed to stop the practice of labor only contracting involving what appeared to be an illegal manpower agency,” he said. RC
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