Close  

Unsafe establishments in Valenzuela face closure

/ 03:30 AM June 05, 2015
INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The threat of criminal and administrative charges was enough for Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian to change his tune.

Gatchalian issued an order on Wednesday revoking all business permits of establishments without a fire safety inspection certificate (FSIC) and serving notice of their closure.

ADVERTISEMENT

The order came two days after President Aquino warned officials of Valenzuela City that they could be held liable for issuing Kentex Manufacturing Inc. a business permit despite its noncompliance with fire safety standards, a violation of the Revised Fire Code of the Philippines.

The slipper factory burned down on May 13, killing 72 people, mostly workers.

FEATURED STORIES

Aquino said Kentex violated fire safety regulations by not having automatic fire sprinklers, fire detection and alarm systems, and protected fire escape.

Partly upon the President’s instructions, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima created a special panel of prosecutors to determine whether there was enough evidence to file criminal and administrative charges against those behind the Kentex factory fire.

Before the President’s statement, Gatchalian washed his hands of the tragedy, saying the city government was allowed to issue provisional business permits pending the grant of an FSIC.

The mayor said the city policy was based on a memorandum circular issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to streamline business operations.

Gatchalian on Thursday said he issued General Executive Order No. 2015-107 because of Aquino’s pronouncement and the conference of Metro Manila mayors where Interior Secretary Mar Roxas reiterated the “No FSIC, no business permit” directive.

“The memorandum circulars have been abandoned and this is the new position of the national government so we have to follow,” the mayor said.

Establishments are given seven days upon receipt of the new order to present a valid FSIC.

ADVERTISEMENT

Most firms unsafe

Only 2,667, or 16.91 percent, of the 15,775 establishments were issued FSIC by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) based on Valenzuala Fire Station’s report at the Feb. 20 meeting of the city’s Peace and Order Council.

Of the registered establishments, 3,557 were inspected by the city’s fire department in 2014.

With his order, Gatchalian said more than 13,000 establishments in the city faced closure and revocation of business permits.

The local government has started distributing the order to high-risk establishments like factories on Wednesday.

In issuing the provisional business permit to Kentex, Gatchalian said Valenzuela had followed three memorandum circulars issued by the Department of Trade and Industry, DILG and BFP that authorized the local government.

3-S Program

Based on these directives, the city government enacted in 2012 an ordinance establishing the 3-S (Simple, Speed and Service Excellence in Public Service) Program.

“Theoretically, if the BFP is doing its job then all the establishments in the city will just show its FSIC,” Gatchalian said.

A Jan. 4, 2011, memorandum circular signed by the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said the “city or municipal fire marshal shall issue a written report notifying the local chief executive wherein all the names of noncompliant establishments are listed, and expressly stating therein a recommendation not to issue a permit or revoke existing ones.”

Gatchalian said the permit of Kentex was not revoked because the BFP never reported back.

BFP spokesman Supt. Renato Marcial said “we will try to do our best to inspect all the establishments [in Valenzuela] in seven days.”

“We will add people in order to comply with the directive of the mayor,” he said.

Currently, the city has only 27 safety inspectors.

The priority would be high-risk establishments, such as factories.

“We need to follow the law. What we need is everyone’s cooperation. This is more on prevention,” Marcial said.

As of December 2014, only 87,938 of the 310,745 registered establishments in Metro Manila had been inspected by the BFP.

RELATED STORIES

At least 3 dead as fire hits footwear factory in Valenzuela City

Metro-wide fire safety inspection of factories starts

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
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: factories, Fire, Kentex, Philippines - Metro, Rexlon Gatchalian, unsafe firms, valenzuela
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
business

P4.64-T budget for 2021 set

December 12, 2019 05:32 AM

sports

Equal treatment

December 12, 2019 05:30 AM

business

Economic team sees 6-6.5% GDP growth in 2019

December 12, 2019 05:30 AM

business

Bangko Sentral seen keeping rates unchanged

December 12, 2019 05:24 AM



© Copyright 1997-2019 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.