KENTEX FIRE TRAGEDY

Aquino blames City Hall

19
THIS IS YOU  President Aquino uses a scale model of the Kentex factory as he explains findings of government inspectors on the May 13 fire.

THIS IS YOU
President Aquino uses a scale model of the Kentex factory as he explains findings of government inspectors on the May 13 fire.

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd virtually cleared fire bureau officials of culpability in the May 13 footwear factory fire that killed 72 people and trained his guns on Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) officials for allowing the business to operate despite having failed fire safety inspection.

Investigation showed that the Kentex Manufacturing factory fire was caused by sparks from a welding job near the main door that ignited flammable chemicals that were stored in the area.

Of the 72 fatalities, three died of asphyxia or smoke inhalation, while 69 people sustained fourth-degree burns.

The President said local officials of Valenzuela City may be charged with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and falsification of documents because of the tragedy.


He mentioned that all 23 factories in Valenzuela City that were inspected by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) failed to comply with fire safety requirements. One even had to be immediately shut down.

Valenzuela City is currently headed by Mayor Rex Gatchalian, who is aligned with the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

The mayor’s brother, now Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, was the spokesman for the UNA senatorial slate in the 2013 elections.

“There were people in the Valenzuela City government who gave them a permit and the certificate of occupancy. That is an established fact,” the President said in a news conference on Monday.

“There are people who died because of their lax enforcement of existing rules and they have to answer for that,” he added.

The President said Valenzuela City Hall should not have issued a business permit to Kentex Manufacturing Corp. without the required fire safety inspection certificate (FSIC).

“City Hall knows that a Fire Safety Inspection Certificate is a requirement, but they still gave the factory a business permit and certificate of occupancy sans the FSIC,” he added in Filipino.

Aquino, quoting findings of an inter-agency investigation team that looked into the incident, said it was highly questionable that Kentex continued to operate despite having no FSIC in the past two decades, except for 2012.

The President revealed that Kentex violated regulations spelled out by Republic Act 9514 or the Revised Fire Code of the Philippines, including lack of an automatic fire sprinkler system and lack of a protected fire exit.

“According to the Fire Code, they should secure a permit to operate. From 1996, they have not complied with the requirements of the Fire Code. This was a tragedy waiting to happen,” he said.

Aquino added that determining lapses of the factory owner in complying with fire safety regulations proves that the BFP did its job.

“According to records that were shown to us, the reason why they didn’t have a Fire Safety Inspection Certification is [that]the BFP did [its]job,” he said, also in Filipino.

The President noted that the fire bureau notified the factory owner as well as City Hall of the Fire Code violations they found when they inspected the factory.

According to him, an FSIC is proof that an establishment complies with fire safety standards as spelled out by the Fire Code.

“A business permit applicant needs to present an FSIC. If you do not present one, you can’t be given a business permit. That serves as a sort of guarantee that an establishment should comply with the law to safeguard the welfare of the workers,” the President said, again in Filipino.

No negative findings
Calling a news conference later in the afternoon, Mayor Gatchalian said the BFP did not tell City Hall to revoke Kentex’s business permit.

“They never reported any negative findings,” he added.

Gatchalian said the city government is following three circulars from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the BFP, which he claims mandate local government units to streamline release of business permits.

“The local government unit of Valenzuela will not act without any legal basis or legal imprimatur for us to move. And we treat memo circulars coming from national agencies, more so, departments, with utmost importance and urgency,” he added.

Gatchalian said the set of the circulars mandates the BFP to inspect establishments after a local government unit (LGU) issues a provisional business permit.

If fire safety inspectors find any violations, they should report them back to the LGU so that the business permit can be revoked.

Gatchalian said as of February, Valenzuela has 15,775 establishments but the BFP only inspected 3,527 of these and only 16 percent were issued certificates.

“Imagine [in Valenzuela where there are 15,000 business establishments, only 2,667 were given]fire safety certificates, what will we do? Will we just wait for this FSIC to be released? What will happen to our economy? What will happen to the businesses? What will happen to the local economy and the local employees?” the mayor asked.

Gatchalian took the President’s remarks to mean that the DILG should investigate the matter.

“I think if we look at the context, it is tasking the DILG to investigate before the charges will be filed. But on the part of the LGU, we are transparent since Day One,” he said.

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19 Comments

  1. Finger pointing ! So tapos na imbestigasyon ang may sala ay ang LGU ng Valenzuela!

  2. “no FSIC in the past two decades, except for 2012.”

    Was the 2012 FSIC for the same location or did the factory change location this year?

  3. Lahat kayo me kasalanan. Ang BFP tamad mag inspeksyon pag nag inspeksyon at madaming violations hihingi ng lagay tapos walang report. Walang certifications wala ring violations (in limbo). Ang munisipyo isa pa ring tamad mag inspeksyon at syempre pag walang certificates walang business permit pero pag me padulas me temporary business permit (revocable kuno) . Ang Dept.of Labor di rin nag iinspekson at tinitingnan kung ano na ang kalagayan ng ating mga manggagawa. Maniwala kayo at sa hindi madami pang factory dito sa ating bansa na ganito ang kalagayan na nag aantay lang ng sakuna para matuklasan ng mga natutulog nating mga opisyales.

  4. What do you expect from an AMPAW president? Loud mouth, talkative, but less action. Or no action at all in some occasion. Example: MRT

  5. Dapat susihin e yang Bureu of fire kasi mga timawa sa lagay yang mga yan. Na expirience ko sa company ng pumunta sila! Hindi naman nag indpection kymuha lang ng hatag! Tsk tsk tsk!

  6. Noynoy is protecting his BFP fire extinguisher distributor and agents. In short, he is getting big from his bagmen in BFP. Noynoy sucks.

  7. Kahit may permit o wala talagang magyayri yan kasi madami sa atin na magaling lang mag isip pag may defecto na ng yari pero mag isip na kung ano ang magyayari wala tayo noon laluna ang mga taong mga nasa government agency sayang ang taas panaman ng high scholastical record ng mga yan di bah hindi ka makakapasok sa government position kung mababa ang record mo sa school academic mo maliban lang kung may padrino ka. Kaya ako umalis sa government na empleyado kasi bago ma promote kailangan dami mga seminars at doctorate, o master degree. O ayan mga na doctorate ang mga permit at na master na nila kung pano palusutin …Sanmig

  8. What do expect from an AMPAW president? Loud mouth, talkative, but less action. Or no action at all in some occasion. Example: MRT

    • The next time a grandmother dies — Pinoys of Pinas should remember Noynoy. Sympathy (namatay iyong nanay, kawawa naman!) is not reason to elect a candidate.

  9. Corrupt bureau of fire officials should rightfully be blamed, I experienced them first hand they sell you fire extinguisher refill at exorbitant prices and we’re not even sure if they just change the seal or they really refilled them.

  10. As usual, what do you expect PeNoy to say except to pass the buck and blame others specially his political enemies. I have been in the LGU, and up to now corrupt practices abound in the BFP in the LGU. I am not sayin all but most. God save the Phils with this kind of president. About one year and 28 days na lang at salamat at matatapos na. I ask our fellow Filipino loving people not to support his clone or endorsed candidate as it will continue his propaganda of Tuwid na daan DAW!

  11. Ernesto Gacrama on

    Eh kung ang Valenzuela Mayor ang may kasalanan…. kAYO rin Pinoy President ang may kasalanan sa mamaspano… KAYO rin ang pumatay sa mgaSAF

  12. Nagturo ka nanaman, pano naman yung SAF 44 napinakain mo sa MILF, dapat managot ka rin!

    • apolonio reyes on

      JOELOKS, BUTI NGA NAKALIMUTAN NA NI NOYP SI GMA KUNDI SI GMA PA RIN ANG SINISI NI BOY SISI SA SUNOG SA KENTEX. NAG MAMADALI SYA TUMUNGO SA JAPAN KAYA ANG SINISI NI BOY SISI AY SI MAYOR GATCHALIAN NA OPPOSITION AT LAGING GUEST SA RADI-TV LALO NA NI TONING NG 2X2, DI BA?.

  13. P.Akialamiro on

    There are more pressing duties other than this for the president to do on a national level, This is within the ‘job spec’ of Roxas and De Lima. As usual, wrong priorities!

  14. Rogelio C. Lim on

    Ang Bureau of Fire Department ay isang ahensiya na napakakurap. Bibigyan ka ng permit kung bibili ka ng fire extinguisher sa kanilang preferred supplier.. Kaya ang napakamahal ang fire exinguisher dahil ang mga supplier ay binibigyan ng commission ang BFD.

  15. Bakit kaya kung umasta ang pangulong Aquino,ay parang walang kaalam alam sa nangyayari sa lahat ng sa cityhall,mula pa noong una,ganito na ang ginagawa ng lahat,pero walang ginagawa ang pangulo at ang mga batas natin!
    Umaastang tanga na akala mo nabigla pa!
    Sinasabi niya ito hindi para itama ang mga maling kalakaran, kung hindi dahil gusto niya na makaganti. Sa kalaban niya sa politika!kailan kaya magiging Totoo. Itong si Aquino!

  16. I Remember... on

    Pnoy is now Fireman in Chief giving reports on cities’ fires.
    Roxas will come in with his pick-up to investigate….
    Mayor Gatchalian blaming the system.. but what has he done to make things happen?

    What Pnoy, Roxas and Gatchalian done to make it work?

    What a shame and miserable people running this circus!