At least 10 firms in Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) have offered a substantial amount of money to inspectors from workers’ unions and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to exonerate them from any wrongdoing against the country’s labor laws and standards, according to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).
TUCP spokesman Alan Tan¬jusay, who was one of the inspectors, over the weekend said the amount was enough to silence the team of inspectors but the offer, he added, was rejected.
Tanjasay, however, refused to divulge the names of the companies since the joint inspection team has to complete a report that they will submit to the Labor department after July 31.
The joint inspection started in June and will officially end on July 31.
The inspection was ordered by DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz weeks after 74 workers died when a fire gutted the two-story building of Kentex Manufacturing Corp. in Valenzuela City last May.
Baldoz’s order was only focused on factories located around and near Kentex.
Tanjusay said before the bribe try by the 10 establishments, an earlier one was made by one factory during the first week of the inspection.
According to him, this attempt was readily rejected by the joint inspection team.
The TUCP spokesman said the inspection team was confident that the bribery try would not happen again since the first incident was reported by the media.
Unfortunately, Tanjusay added, the second bribe offer came from the 10 factories during the second week of June, or one month after the first incident took place.
The inspection team had already inspected more than 400 factories in Valenzuela City when the latest offer was made.
A fellow inspector, Conrad Ladiao of the National Congress of Labor, told The Manila Times that this bribe offer was strongly refused since it was the collective decision of all members of the inspection team not to accept payoffs.
Ladiao said the purpose of the bribe offers was precisely to ensure that the factories would not be included in the list of the factories in Valenzuela City that violated labor laws and standards.
Tanjusay admitted that he himself was offered bribe money but he turned it down.
He said the purpose of the inspection would have been defeated if he or anyone from the team accepted bribe offers.