Makabayan seeks House probe on Cavite factory fire
The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives has sought an investigation into the fire that gutted a Japanese factory in Cavite’s Export Processing Zone in General Trias town that injured over 100 people and killed one employee.
In House Resolution 747, militant lawmakers asked the House committee on labor and employment to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the causes and aftermath of the fire that hit House Technologies Inc. (HTI) factory on Feb. 1.
The lawmakers wanted the committee to look into the occupational health and safety management of factory workers.
They cited news reports that more than 100 workers were seriously injured in the blaze and there could be more who were not yet accounted for.
They also cited reports about trapped workers who jumped out of the burning factory to save their lives.
The Makabayan bloc quoted Cavite Gov. Jesus Crispin Remulla as saying that the fire gutted the factory due to an overheated insulation stamping machine. The factory also stored wood and other combustible materials.
The lawmakers lamented that the employers did not want to take responsibility for the fire by taking advantage of “vague labors laws” on occupational health and safety standards.
According to Makabayan representatives, a House probe is needed to prevent a “whitewash” of the investigation.
“An independent, impartial and public investigation should be conducted to ensure that all facts surrounding the case be scrutinized,” the resolution read.
“This is aimed to avoid whitewash and to hold accountable those government officials and HTI management for the consequences of their neglect of duty,” it added.
The resolution was signed by Gabriela Representatives Emmi De Jesus and Arlene Brosas, Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago.
The fire lasted more than 12 hours and injured 126 workers, some of whom suffered body burns of 75 to 90 percent. Most of them were hospitalized due to suffocation.
Jerome Sismaet, a male employee of HTI, became the first fatality when he died on Sunday due to severe burns./rga
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