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Kentex victims agree to P151,200 settlement

By Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 23, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Families and representatives of at least 57 victims of the fire that razed the Kentex
Manufacturing Corp. slipper factory in Valenzuela last May 13 have agreed to a settlement with the
company.
Lawyer Renato Paraiso, who represents Kentex management, said the victims families have agreed to a
total compensation package worth P151,200 each. The amount includes P100,000 in death benefits,
P30,000 cash for the identification of the remains of the victims, P10,000 burial assistance, P6,200 for
funeral services, and P5,000 travel assistance.
Paraiso said the settlement applies to all victims regardless of their employment status.
He said the company would shoulder the medical expenses of regular employees who were injured in the
incident. They would also be receiving their separation pay, he said.
He was mum, however, on the benefits of injured contractual employees. Most victims of the fire were
reportedly contractual employees.
Paraiso said at least 10 more families were willing to settle within the week but there are those who
would not budge and were asking as much as P4 million for settlement, which the company cannot
afford at this point.

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He noted that the financial situation of Kentex has been spiraling downwards and it had only managed to
pay the settlement through bank loans.
Lawyer Remigio Saladero Jr., who represents the victims families, told The STAR that the settlement
does not extinguish the criminal liability of Kentex and its officials, but only the civil aspect of the case.
Saladero said criminal charges will still be filed.
But Paraiso stressed that those who agreed to settle have signed quitclaims and waivers, releasing the
company and its officials from any liabilities.
The execution of their quitclaims and waivers would constitute a waiver of their right to file criminal, civil
and administrative charges against the company, its officers and directors, he said.
If they want to annul the waiver they would now have the duty to prove that there was coercion in the
execution of the documents, he added.

He said families could still file charges against other people, companies or government agencies who are
possibly accountable for the incident.

Strict compliance
Meanwhile, the national government vowed to strictly enforce the compliance with fire safety
requirements for all establishments nationwide before they would be issued business permits and
licenses.
This was the directive issued by both President Aquino and Department of the Interior and Local
Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas II, according to presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda,
who quoted a text message from department Usec. Peter Irving Corvera.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), which is under supervision of the DILG, is currently conducting
intensive inspections of industrial and high-hazard establishments, following the Kentex fire that left 72
workers dead.
The purpose of such inspections is primarily to ensure compliance by all establishments with the Fire
Code to avoid a repeat of the Kentex incident and to expedite the issuance of FSICs to compliant
establishments, the DILG official told Lacierda in a text message.
FSICs, or fire safety inspection certificates, are prerequisites to all permits and licenses in establishments
nationwide.
The BFP expects to complete such inspections by next week, after which the extensive inspections will
be implemented in the rest of the country, Corvera added.
The national government also vowed to expedite the benefits and financial assistance to be extended to
the families of the victims as laid out by the Department of Labor and Employment, according to
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. Delon Porcalla

Kentex owners face imprisonment DOLE


By Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 20, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The owners of Kentex Manufacturing Inc. face possible imprisonment for various
offenses, including violations of labor regulations that could have aggravated the conditions which caused
a fire that killed 72 people in the firms factory in Valenzuela City last March 13, the Department of Labor
and Employment (DOLE) reported yesterday.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said based on initial findings of DOLE investigators, Kentex appeared
to have committed various labor violations that carry a long list of penalties, including imprisonment.
If found liable for the fire that cost the lives of 72 and injuries to scores of others, Kentex and its
subcontractor will be sanctioned as provided under the Labor Code, Baldoz noted.
According to Baldoz, the DOLE is focusing its investigation on the labor standards and occupational
safety aspects of the fire that gutted the Kentex slippers factory in Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela.
Baldoz said Kentex representatives have been invited again to appear during the DOLE-National Capital
Region mandatory conference meant to gather facts regarding the fire.
Kentex Manufacturing Corp. did not attend the first conference, despite receiving an official notice. If the
company fails to attend again, then it will be construed that it has waived its right to be heard, said
Baldoz.

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During last Mondays conference, DOLE was able to establish that Kentex labor subcontractor CJC
Manpower Services is not registered with the DOLE as a legitimate subcontractor and that the latter was
not paying the correct wages and benefits to its workers and was not remitting the social security benefits
of its workers to the Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig Fund.
DOLE findings also indicated that Kentex is using its subcontractor as a dummy to avoid complying with
labor regulations.
In fact, it didnt hire the 99 workers it admitted to have been deployed to Kentex between April 2014 and
the date of occurrence of the fire accident. Kentex just assigned this to the sub-contractor. In short, CJC is
a dummy of Kentex, Baldoz said.
She said DOLE-NCR will immediately evaluate the results of the mandatory conferences, including the
documents and statements it obtained, and the interviews it had conducted, and thereafter issue a
compliance order to both the subcontractor and Kentex.
The compliance order, an exercise of lawful authority, should already detail all the accountabilities of
Kentex and its subcontractor, Baldoz said.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima vowed to prosecute the people who will be found
responsible for the Valenzuela factory fire.
Some people should be held liable, she told reporters yesterday.
But she said that the DOJ would have to wait for results of the investigation of the Philippine National
Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) before it could act on last weeks incident.

In terms of filing proper charges against, for example, the owners of the factory, the DOJ can always
come in at the proper time, especially there are already initial results of investigation, she explained.
The DOJ chief hinted that possible criminal, administrative and civil charges could be filed against several
persons once investigation is completed.
She added that PNP investigators are also expected to determine if the factory was indeed a sweatshop
and had less than ideal working conditions that may have contributed to the magnitude of that tragedy.

Provisional business permit


An official of the BFP said the Valenzuela city government should not have granted a provisional business
permit to Kentex without a fire safety inspection certificate issued by the bureau.
Let us say they have acquired the provisional business permit, although I dont agree with that,
provisional permit is still a permit, so, before they issued the permit, there is a need for an inspection if
they (Kentex) have complied with the Fire Code, BFP spokesman Renato Marcial told The
STARyesterday.
Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian admitted that the city government issued the provisional business
permit to Kentex last Jan. 15.
Under the law, what we are following is the Fire Code of the Philippines that states that any business
permit or whatever permit that the local government will issue, the fire safety inspection certificate is a
pre-requisite for the issuance for the mayors permit, Marcial said.
But Gatchalian said the provisional permit should be followed by a post-audit period at the end, meaning
all business permits can be revoked if found that the agencies concerned after the post audit finds
deficiency.
Gatchalian pointed to a memorandum circular of the BFP dated Sept. 24, 2012 allowing the LGU to issue
a provisional business permit. He said this circular was the same with the joint memo circular of the
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
on the one-stop shop processing of business permits and other documents.
But BFPs Marcial stood firm that even a memorandum of the BFP will not supersede the Fire Code of the
Philippines.
That is only a memorandum circular, what will supersede a memorandum circular or a republic act? The
fire code says that no permit shall be issued, no business permit without securing a fire safety inspection
certificate [shall be issued], which is a pre-requisite for the issuance of [a business permit], he said.
He, however, said that it is not time for finger pointing on who should be blamed, adding that they will also
look into the possible lapses of the local BFP personnel.

In the case of the Kentex, Marcial said that they would make sure that all personnel of the BFP, LGU and
other public officials that are found liable would face penalties.
Gatchalian said that the Valenzuela city government would cooperate with all the investigating agencies.
The members of the inter-agency task force that is spearheading the investigation of the fire conducted
yesterday morning an ocular inspection of the gutted Kentex factory.
Marcial said the welder, assisted by his legal counsel, reenacted what happened before and after the fire
broke out inside the factory.
The welding operation inside the factory reportedly caused the fire.
Based on the inspection, it appears that the fire originated from the first sparks that ignited the highly
combustible chemicals stored nearby.
He, however, clarified that the information of the welder will still be verified through the sworn statements
of witnesses.
He said that they are scheduled to submit the result of the investigation before the end of the month.
The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) supports the DOLEs investigation of the alleged
labor violations committed by Kentex.
ECOP said concerned government agencies should penalize Kentex to the full extent of the law if
evidence will prove that the company violated labor regulations.
Time and again, we in ECOP have unequivocally stated that we do not condone the acts or omissions of
any enterprise that endanger the lives of employees, the employers group said in a statement.

PAO to assist victims


The Public Attorneys Office (PAO) has offered legal assistance to families of the Kentex victims.
PAO chief Persida Acosta said Gatchalian and some of the victims families requested the office to
provide assistance.
Acosta said PAO representatives would meet the families at the Valenzuela City Hall this morning to
discuss the kind of support that they would provide.
Relatives of the fatalities could file claims for benefits in a one-stop shop set up by the DILG, which will be
operational within the week, to facilitate inter-agency government assistance to victims relatives.

DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II said the assistance center will be manned by representatives from the
local government unit of Valenzuela City, congressional offices, non-government organizations, DOLE,
SSS, Pag-Ibig Fund, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education,
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Offices, PNP and the Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force of the BFP.
The PNP Crime Laboratory has already made initial identification of some personal belongings and
personal effects recovered at the factory site.
PNP Crime Laboratory Service director Chief Supt. Teresa Ann Cid said of the 72 victims who perished in
the fire, 29 victims were male and 38 were female, with the gender of five other victims not yet
determined.
Three of the fatalities have been identified as Tristan King Ong, Josephin Tee and Leah Ballesteros,
whose bodies were recovered on the day of the fire.
Cid said forensic experts would continue analyzing the dental records of the victims to identify all the
bodies recovered and also use other scientific methods.
The DSWD is extending assistance to the families of the victims of the Kentex factory fire.
The DSWDs National Capital Region Field Office deployed a seven-man disaster team to assess and
validate the needs of the victims and their families and also provide psycho-social support last Friday.
The DSWD said that the Valenzuela city government requested them to facilitate the provision of
transportation assistance to the relatives coming from the provinces.
The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition urged the DOLE to create a special task force to investigate other unsafe
factories and so-called sweatshops in Valenzuela City.
Josua Mata, co-convenor of the coalition, said operators of sweatshops do not safeguard the welfare of
workers.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines and the Nagkaisa labor coalition vowed to stage rallies in
Valenzuela and also provide assistance to the victims and their families.
The organization Church People-Workers Solidarity (CWS) yesterday expressed its condolence to the
families of the victims.
In a statement, CWS convenor and San Carlos, Negros Occidental Bishop Garardo Alminaza asked
Malacaang to use all concerned agencies to uncover the truth that led to the fire.
CWS believes that there might have been lapses in the implementation of the occupational health and
safety standards in the case of the Kentex blaze. With Edu Punay, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Robertzon
Ramirez, Janvic Mateo, Evelyn Macairan, Rainier Allan Ronda

MANILA, Philippines - The owners of Kentex Manufacturing Inc. face possible imprisonment for various
offenses, including violations of labor regulations that could have aggravated the conditions which caused
a fire that killed 72 people in the firms factory in Valenzuela City last March 13, the Department of Labor
and Employment (DOLE) reported yesterday.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said based on initial findings of DOLE investigators, Kentex appeared
to have committed various labor violations that carry a long list of penalties, including imprisonment.
If found liable for the fire that cost the lives of 72 and injuries to scores of others, Kentex and its
subcontractor will be sanctioned as provided under the Labor Code, Baldoz noted.
According to Baldoz, the DOLE is focusing its investigation on the labor standards and occupational
safety aspects of the fire that gutted the Kentex slippers factory in Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela.
Baldoz said Kentex representatives have been invited again to appear during the DOLE-National Capital
Region mandatory conference meant to gather facts regarding the fire.
Kentex Manufacturing Corp. did not attend the first conference, despite receiving an official notice. If the
company fails to attend again, then it will be construed that it has waived its right to be heard, said
Baldoz.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1


During last Mondays conference, DOLE was able to establish that Kentex labor subcontractor CJC
Manpower Services is not registered with the DOLE as a legitimate subcontractor and that the latter was
not paying the correct wages and benefits to its workers and was not remitting the social security benefits
of its workers to the Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig Fund.
DOLE findings also indicated that Kentex is using its subcontractor as a dummy to avoid complying with
labor regulations.
In fact, it didnt hire the 99 workers it admitted to have been deployed to Kentex between April 2014 and
the date of occurrence of the fire accident. Kentex just assigned this to the sub-contractor. In short, CJC is
a dummy of Kentex, Baldoz said.
She said DOLE-NCR will immediately evaluate the results of the mandatory conferences, including the
documents and statements it obtained, and the interviews it had conducted, and thereafter issue a
compliance order to both the subcontractor and Kentex.
The compliance order, an exercise of lawful authority, should already detail all the accountabilities of
Kentex and its subcontractor, Baldoz said.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima vowed to prosecute the people who will be found
responsible for the Valenzuela factory fire.

Some people should be held liable, she told reporters yesterday.


But she said that the DOJ would have to wait for results of the investigation of the Philippine National
Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) before it could act on last weeks incident.
In terms of filing proper charges against, for example, the owners of the factory, the DOJ can always
come in at the proper time, especially there are already initial results of investigation, she explained.
The DOJ chief hinted that possible criminal, administrative and civil charges could be filed against several
persons once investigation is completed.
She added that PNP investigators are also expected to determine if the factory was indeed a sweatshop
and had less than ideal working conditions that may have contributed to the magnitude of that tragedy.

Provisional business permit


An official of the BFP said the Valenzuela city government should not have granted a provisional business
permit to Kentex without a fire safety inspection certificate issued by the bureau.
Let us say they have acquired the provisional business permit, although I dont agree with that,
provisional permit is still a permit, so, before they issued the permit, there is a need for an inspection if
they (Kentex) have complied with the Fire Code, BFP spokesman Renato Marcial told The
STARyesterday.
Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian admitted that the city government issued the provisional business
permit to Kentex last Jan. 15.
Under the law, what we are following is the Fire Code of the Philippines that states that any business
permit or whatever permit that the local government will issue, the fire safety inspection certificate is a
pre-requisite for the issuance for the mayors permit, Marcial said.
But Gatchalian said the provisional permit should be followed by a post-audit period at the end, meaning
all business permits can be revoked if found that the agencies concerned after the post audit finds
deficiency.
Gatchalian pointed to a memorandum circular of the BFP dated Sept. 24, 2012 allowing the LGU to issue
a provisional business permit. He said this circular was the same with the joint memo circular of the
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
on the one-stop shop processing of business permits and other documents.
But BFPs Marcial stood firm that even a memorandum of the BFP will not supersede the Fire Code of the
Philippines.

That is only a memorandum circular, what will supersede a memorandum circular or a republic act? The
fire code says that no permit shall be issued, no business permit without securing a fire safety inspection
certificate [shall be issued], which is a pre-requisite for the issuance of [a business permit], he said.
He, however, said that it is not time for finger pointing on who should be blamed, adding that they will also
look into the possible lapses of the local BFP personnel.
In the case of the Kentex, Marcial said that they would make sure that all personnel of the BFP, LGU and
other public officials that are found liable would face penalties.
Gatchalian said that the Valenzuela city government would cooperate with all the investigating agencies.
The members of the inter-agency task force that is spearheading the investigation of the fire conducted
yesterday morning an ocular inspection of the gutted Kentex factory.
Marcial said the welder, assisted by his legal counsel, reenacted what happened before and after the fire
broke out inside the factory.
The welding operation inside the factory reportedly caused the fire.
Based on the inspection, it appears that the fire originated from the first sparks that ignited the highly
combustible chemicals stored nearby.
He, however, clarified that the information of the welder will still be verified through the sworn statements
of witnesses.
He said that they are scheduled to submit the result of the investigation before the end of the month.
The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) supports the DOLEs investigation of the alleged
labor violations committed by Kentex.
ECOP said concerned government agencies should penalize Kentex to the full extent of the law if
evidence will prove that the company violated labor regulations.
Time and again, we in ECOP have unequivocally stated that we do not condone the acts or omissions of
any enterprise that endanger the lives of employees, the employers group said in a statement.

PAO to assist victims


The Public Attorneys Office (PAO) has offered legal assistance to families of the Kentex victims.
PAO chief Persida Acosta said Gatchalian and some of the victims families requested the office to
provide assistance.

Acosta said PAO representatives would meet the families at the Valenzuela City Hall this morning to
discuss the kind of support that they would provide.
Relatives of the fatalities could file claims for benefits in a one-stop shop set up by the DILG, which will be
operational within the week, to facilitate inter-agency government assistance to victims relatives.
DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II said the assistance center will be manned by representatives from the
local government unit of Valenzuela City, congressional offices, non-government organizations, DOLE,
SSS, Pag-Ibig Fund, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education,
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Offices, PNP and the Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force of the BFP.
The PNP Crime Laboratory has already made initial identification of some personal belongings and
personal effects recovered at the factory site.
PNP Crime Laboratory Service director Chief Supt. Teresa Ann Cid said of the 72 victims who perished in
the fire, 29 victims were male and 38 were female, with the gender of five other victims not yet
determined.
Three of the fatalities have been identified as Tristan King Ong, Josephin Tee and Leah Ballesteros,
whose bodies were recovered on the day of the fire.
Cid said forensic experts would continue analyzing the dental records of the victims to identify all the
bodies recovered and also use other scientific methods.
The DSWD is extending assistance to the families of the victims of the Kentex factory fire.
The DSWDs National Capital Region Field Office deployed a seven-man disaster team to assess and
validate the needs of the victims and their families and also provide psycho-social support last Friday.
The DSWD said that the Valenzuela city government requested them to facilitate the provision of
transportation assistance to the relatives coming from the provinces.
The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition urged the DOLE to create a special task force to investigate other unsafe
factories and so-called sweatshops in Valenzuela City.
Josua Mata, co-convenor of the coalition, said operators of sweatshops do not safeguard the welfare of
workers.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines and the Nagkaisa labor coalition vowed to stage rallies in
Valenzuela and also provide assistance to the victims and their families.
The organization Church People-Workers Solidarity (CWS) yesterday expressed its condolence to the
families of the victims.

In a statement, CWS convenor and San Carlos, Negros Occidental Bishop Garardo Alminaza asked
Malacaang to use all concerned agencies to uncover the truth that led to the fire.
CWS believes that there might have been lapses in the implementation of the occupational health and
safety standards in the case of the Kentex blaze. With Edu Punay, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Robertzon
Ramirez, Janvic Mateo, Evelyn Macairan, Rainier Allan Ronda

57 families of Kentex fire dead settle


as firm insists 'no liability'
By: Agence France-Presse
June 24, 2015 11:50 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- Families of 57 of the 72 persons who died in the countrys worst factory fire
have dropped their claims against Kentex Manufacturing in exchange for a P151,200 settlement, a
company lawyer said Tuesday.
The families of more of the workers who died in the May 13 fire at the two-story factory in Valenzuela
City are expected eventually to agree to the settlement, said lawyer Renato Paraiso as he
maintained that Kentex was not to blame for the blaze since it was started by sparks from welders
hired from a third company to repair a gate.
"We have no liability regarding what happened. It is just the moral obligation of the management in
looking after the workers," he said.
The fire at the rubber slippers factory, which claimed 72 lives, sparked outrage over the allegedly
unsafe conditions which contributed to the high death toll.
Labor groups also denounced Kentex for relying on contract laborers who were not paid regular
salaries.
However Paraiso said the settlement includes a waiver against any further claims against Kentex.
"More or less, we gave them what is due to them," he told AFP.
He said the settlements were not achieved through coercion, stressing that they were negotiated
with arbiters from the Department of Labor and Employment present to explain the consequences to
the families.
Lawyers for the families of the dead could not be contacted for comment.

The minimum wage for a worker in a large factory is set at P481 per day.
Malacanang deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte stressed that any settlement with Kentex must be
respected.
"However, any settlement cannot bind government in as far as investigations on violations of existing
rules and regulations are concerned," Valte added.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz also said the settlements would not protect Kentex management
from any criminal charges.
The Department of Justice is investigating the fire after allegations that the factory did not have
sprinklers or adequate fire exits and had bars on the windows which prevented people from
escaping.
Aquino had previously said the management could face charges of reckless imprudence resulting in
multiple homicide as well as labor law violations for using contractual workers.
Homicide is punishable by up to 20 years in jail.
The fire also prompted the government to inspect many other factories in the same area, only to
discover numerous violations of the fire code.

Kentex contractor told: Pay up


Vito BarceloJun. 12, 2015 at 12:01am

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The Department of Labor and Employment has ordered the sub-contractor of fire-hit Kentex
Manufacturing Corporation to pay 99 workers P8.3 million in benefits.
Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz directed DOLE Regional Director Ana Dione to serve the order to CJC
Manpower Services, the subcontractor of rubber footwear maker Kentex, which recently caught fire,
resulting in the death of 72 workers .
Finally, our regional office in San Fernando, Pampanga had served the compliance order to CJC
after its joint assessment team had found out that the sub-contractor owes 99 workers of Kentex
Manufacturing a total of P8.3 million in unpaid benefits, a million pesos higher than the regions
initial estimate. The team had also discovered other blatant labor law violations, said Baldoz.
The department also discovered that the subcontractor was engaged in the prohibited activity of
labor-only contracting.

The DoLE likewise warned other applicants, employers and companies from
CJC.

hiring the services of

Baldoz said the CJC violated numerous labor laws including underpayment of minimum wages,
non-payment of COLA, non-payment of 13th month pay for the year 2014, non-payment of holiday
pay and special holiday premium, illegal deduction of cash bond of P100.00 per week, and nonmembership of workers and non-remittance of premiums to the SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-Ibig Fund
despite deductions on pay.
She said the company was not registered under Department Order No. 18-A in Region 3.
It also found out that there was no written service agreement between Kentex Manufacturing
Corporation and CJC Manpower Services. There was also no employment contract between CJC
Manpower Services and workers deployed at Kentex Manufacturing Corporation. The workers are
also not enlisted as members of SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-Ibig, Baldoz said.
The DoLE also ordered Kentex

to pay an initial P2.5 million to another 76 displaced workers.

DOLE orders Kentex sub-contractor to cease and


desist
by Criselda David Philippine News Correspondent

QUEZON CITY, Philippines Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday
announced that the DOLE Regional Office No. 3 has found CJC Manpower Services to be engaged in
labor-only subcontracting and has ordered it to cease and desist from recruiting, supplying, and/or
deploying workers to companies and employers effective immediately.
CJC Manpower Services is the sub-contractor of Kentex Manufacturing Corporation, whose
manufacturing facility burned down on 13 May, killing 72 workers.
Regional Director Ana P. Dione has issued today a cease and desist order against CJC Manpower
Services. A copy of the cease-and-desist order was furnished the business licensing office of the City of
Meycauayan, Bulacan, with a recommendation to cancel the business permit of CJC Manpower Services
without prejudice to the filing of appropriate criminal charges against the owner and other responsible
officer and personnel, said Baldoz after Director Dione reported to her the issuance of the order.
Earlier, or on 15 May 2015, the DOLE regional office in San Fernando had completed a joint assessment
of CJC Manpower Services and discovered the agency to be deploying workers to Kentex Manufacturing
Corporation. Senior labor laws compliance officer Dante M. Regala, conducted the joint assessment,
during the course of which he found out the following deficiencies:
(1) Underpayment of minimum wage under Wage Order No. NCR-18 and Wage Order No. NCR-19 from

date of employment up to the present;


(2) Non-payment of cost of living allowance (COLA) under Wage Order No. NCR-18 and Wage Order No.
NCR-19.
(3) Non-payment of 13th month pay for 2014;
(4) Non-payment of holiday pay and special holiday premium;
(5) Illegal deduction for cash bond of P100 per week;
(6) Non-membership of workers and non-remittance of premiums to SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-Ibig Fund,
despite deductions on pay;
(7) CJC Manpower Services is not registered under Department Order No. 18-A in Region 3, nor in any
other region;
(8) There is no written service agreement between Kentex Manufacturing Corporation and CJC
Manpower Services; and
(9) There is no employment contract between CJC Manpower Services and workers deployed at Kentex
Manufacturing Corporation;
On occupational safety and health, the joint assessment also revealed the following:
(1) Non-registration under Rule 1020;
(2) Non-submission of annual work accident/illness exposure data report;
(3) Non-submission of annual medical report; and
(4) Lack of company policies and programs on (a) anti-sexual harassment; (b) drug-free workplace; (c)
tuberculosis; (d) hepatitis B; and (e) HIV-AIDS.
Dir. Dione said she issued and signed the order pursuant to the provisions of Article 106 of the Labor
Code, As Amended, and Department Order No. 18-A, noting that the deficiencies/activities discovered
during the joint assessment points to CJC Manpower Services to be engaged in prohibited activities of
labor-only contracting.
Tags: DOLE, featured, Kentex, top

Justice for Kentex Workers


Mary Ann Tenis worked at Kentex. Hired as a piece-rate worker making rubber slippers, she had been at
the factory for five months before the fire. She left behind three children, with her youngest just nine
months old when she died on May 12 while working the line. Marietta Malicdom worked in Kentex for 15
years and received a weekly wage per sack of tsinelas that she painted. One of her children, high school
student Joanna, also worked at Kentex. Marietta and Joanna burned to death while working the line last
May 12.
The Kentex Factory Fire, considered the biggest factory fire in the Philippines, killed 72 workers, mostly
women, while 20 more remain missing. Kentex workers produce the Havanas rubber slippers which are
sold and distributed in the Philippines.

For those of us who work or have worked in Canada where there


are workplace fire drills, workplace safety orientations, inspections and compliance, safety committees,
access to employment standards, and importantly, access and full participation in unions which are
standard and part of workers rights and welfare, it is heart wrenching to see how the opposite is mostly
true in the Philippines, as shown by the Kentex Fire. Ang tanong nga, bakit nagagawa rito, kahit na
sabihin na natin na hindi perfect ang sistema pa rin sa Canada?
The deaths of these workers inside the factory expose the violations of workplace health and safety
issues faced by the Kentex workers, the violations of the labour and employment standards, and the
collusion of government agencies and the owners of KentexManufacturing that basically relegated the
welfare and interest of the workers to the bottom of the list.
The Kentex Fire puts into question the certificates of compliance and fire safety inspection issued to the
factory by the Philippine Dept of Labour and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Bureau of Fire
Protection (BFP) several months before the seven-hour blaze at Kentex.
Two days after the fire, a Fact Finding Team composed of labor non-government groups: the Center for
Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research
(EILER), the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD), and the national labour
centre Kilusang Mayo Uno, visited the factory area. In its findings, the team found serious violations,
among them the mishandling and storage of chemicals (hazardous substances) used in the factory, the
absence of proper labeling of hazardous substances, the absence of proper smoke and fire alarms, the
absence of fire and safety drills among the workers, and the absence of proper and adequate fire exits on
every floor.
The image of the factory windows covered with metal bars and chicken wire remains a haunting scene
because it meant no escape for the workers from their certain fiery death.
The Kentex workers were not only unsafe at work, they were also exploited at work. Kentex workers who
served for 20-25 years were considered regular and those who have worked for an average of 10 years
were considered casual workers. Morethan 100 Kentex workers were supplied by CJC Manpower
Services, an agency that supplies workers to companies. These workers received a daily wage of P202
plus P187 to P220 daily allowance which is below the legally mandated minimum wage. Also, these
workers had reported that the CJC have not remitted their benefits like the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig
contributions and their complaints of heat and lack of ventilation fell on deaf ears. Aside from these
agency-hired contractuals, CJC also supplied piece- rate workers and pakyawan (wholesale system)
workers who worked 12 hours a day with no contract.

The DOLE and BFP, the Kentex owners and the related agencies that work for them need to be held
accountable for the fire and the deaths of the workers, the violations of labour employment laws and the
occupational health and safety standards and justifiably charged with criminal and administrative offenses.
The families of the victims should immediately be given just compensation, proper benefits for those who
lost their jobs after the fire and long-term support for the orphaned children of these workers.
While government agencies and company owners are busy pointing fingers at each other to cast the
blame on what has happened, the Fact Finding Team has called for the junking of the DOLE order on
voluntary compliance (!) with labour laws and standards. It has called for the passage of the Workers
SHIELD Bill (Safety and Health Inspection and Employers Liability Decree) that will make violations of
occupational health and safety standards both criminal and administrative offenses thereby giving the
workers protection and ensuring serious compliance from owners and regulating agencies.
The Kentex Fire is not the first factory fire under the current government of Philippine President BS
Aquino. If things do not drastically change, I am afraid this may not be the last. As of this writing, at least
40 factories in the area were found to be in violation of occupational and safety standards as well as
labour laws.
The Kentex Fire brought to the fore again the slave-like conditions and wages of ordinary workers. The
lack of decent jobs in the face of stark poverty and hardship push our kababayan to work overseas.
Migrante International reports at least one-fourth of the Philippine labour force has gone abroad to find
work.
The workers at Kentex died working the line. They were workers who put in long hours under terrible work
conditions, most of them still casuals after years of work and not getting the legal minimum wage and
legally mandated benefits. They could not afford to be choosy when hunger knocks on their doors. For the
workers to not work meant to not eat for themselves and their families. It was not decent work by any
standard, but it put food on the table and maybe put the children through school. It was not decent work
because it did not provide a legal, much less a living wage, it did not provide security in the work place
and denied the workers and their families social protection.
The workers had done their part as workers but the owners had not lived up to their deal as employers.
They did not provide their workers the safe conditions, wages and benefits as mandated by law, if not
mandated by human decency and conscience. DOLE, BFP and other government agencies had not lived
up to their part as protectors of the workers by ensuring that their rights and welfare were protected. All of
them have preyed on the vulnerability of the workers to line their government and corporate pockets, to
ensure manufacturing costs were down and profits were high. The deaths of the Kentex workers should
make us angry. One migrant worker said, But for the grace of God (or the luck of the draw), I could have
been working there. I could have been Marietta, Joanna or Mary Tess.

Payment of Kentex subcontractor


not enough; contractualization
must be stopped
Posted on 22. Jun, 2015 by EILER Inc. in Education Work, News Releases

The labor departments order to Kentex Manufacturing Inc.s subcontractor to pay


unpaid benefits to workers worth P8.3 million is not enough, according to labor NGO
Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER).
EILER said that aside from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) taking
full accountability for the Kentex tragedy, DOLE should scrap Department Order 18-A
which authorizes subcontracting, adding that contractualization had victimized Kentex
workers even before the factory fire in Valenzuela City.
It was found out that CJC Manpower Services, the Kentex subcontractor, had deployed
more than 100 workers to the slippers factory even without registration with the DOLE
and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The subcontracted workers were
paid only P200 per day, way below the mandated minimum wage.
Despite DOLEs decision to order CJC Manpower Services to pay P8.3 million to its
workers, we should not forget that Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz certified Kentex as labor
standards-compliant even it knew that Kentex is tapping the services of an unregistered
subcontractor, EILER executive director Anna Leah Escresa-Colina said.
Escresa-Colina noted that DOLEs move against CJC Manpower Services highlights that
illegal subcontractors can easily run scot-free by just paying unpaid benefits.
What DOLE should do is to scrap DO 18-A, which has been proven to be inutile in
banning labor-only contracting in light of the Kentex tragedy, she said.
Under DO 18-A, companies can engage in subcontracting provided that the
subcontractor is registered with the DOLE, has substantial capitalization, has ownership

of equipment/ machineries needed in the services rendered, and has direct control and
supervision of its workers.
But EILER believes that DO 18-A, even with the criteria for legal subcontracting, can
be easily circumvented by companies and in fact is being used as legal basis for rampant
contractualization.
The so-called legal subcontracting under DO 18-A has been proven to result in the
decline of regular workers in favor of hiring more contractual workers, in the weakening
of unions, and in the insulation of principal employers in labor cases.
Contractualization, be it legal or illegal, undermines workers rights.
Photo of Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz from www.mb.com.ph.