Firefighters battle the blaze consuming the rubber factory of Kentex Manufacturing Corporation in Brgy. Ugong, Valenzuela City on Wednesday. Three people were confirmed dead and firefighters fear an undetermined number of workers were trapped inside. Photo by Manny Palmero for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA - Kentex Manufacturing Corp., the owner of the slippers factory razed by a deadly fire on Wednesday, engaged the services of an illegal sub-contractor, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
"I need to say this in the wake of this deadly fire accident. The company has engaged, and is engaging, the services of an illegal sub-contractor, a violation of the Labor Code, and therefore, it is responsible for the sub-contractor's workers," DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a statement Friday.
According to the initial report of DOLE-NCR director Alex Avila, the sub-contractor is CJC Manpower Services, based on Mac Arthur Hi-Way, Calvario, Meycauayan, Bulacan. It is owned by a certain Cynthia Dimayuga and its operations manager is one Jojie Dimayuga.
Avila said CJC had 104 workers deployed at Kentex at the time of the fire, citing a list provided by the sub-contractor's human resource manager Jinky Anne Salas.
"When compared to the list of missing persons of Valenzuela City's DSWD, it appeared that 36 of the missing persons are CJC workers deployed at Kentex," said Avila.
He noted, however, that when DOLE assessed Kentex last March 3, 2014, there were no CJC workers at factory. Kentex only engaged CJC after it was issued a corresponding Certificate of Compliance (CoC).
"Based on this report, Kentex used the legitimacy of our assessment as cloak to circumvent our laws. I am very much disgusted by this kind of behavior," Baldoz said.
"We will not sacrifice the goodwill of the many employers who have expressed faith in the DOLE's new Labor Laws Compliance System over the ill-intent and deceptive behavior of a few employers. The standards, not only of legality, but more so the morality, in the conduct of business of such few employers then becomes an issue," she added.
She said the DOLE has already summoned the management of Kentex and CJC to a mandatory conference on Monday where they will be asked regarding their operations, treatment of their workers and other labor issues.
Meanwhile, Baldoz assured that the casualties in Wednesday's massive blaze are entitled to benefits under the Employees Compensation Program of the Employees Compensation Commission, an attached agency of the DOLE.
"They should file claims for corresponding benefits and we will assist them in facilitating their claims," she said.
Employees Compensation Commission executive director Stella Zipagan-Banawis said the wounded victims may claim loss of income benefits and medical reimbursements while the families of those who were killed in the fire may claim funeral benefits worth P20,000 and death benefits in the form of monthly pension.
"Once the EC claim has been approved, the claimant is qualified to enrol under the Katulong at Gabay sa Manggagawang may Kapansanan (KaGabay)," Banawis added.
The KaGabay offers free physical physical or occupational therapy services, which include assistive devices such as prosthesis, hearing aid, braces and wheelchair, and also skills training for re-employment as well as entrepreneurship training.