MANILA – The local government of Valenzuela City is sending out a group of lawyers to assist families of fire victims who will be receiving money from Kentex Manufacturing Corporation on Saturday.
"Sabi sa akin ng barangay captain, mamayang hapon raw ang pay off. Sabi ko I will make sure our city lawyers make themselves available to the families for consultation mamayang hapon. Ayoko na baka papirmahin sila ng kung ano-ano nang di nila nauunawaan," Mayor Rex Gatchalian said in an interview with radio dzMM.
Gatchalian said Kentex and the families of the victims met on Friday. He only learned about it from the victims' families and barangay officials.
During the meeting, Gatchalian was informed that the company offered the families the victims' wages for 15 days plus five more days.
"Magkano lamang ho yun? Alam nating wala namang halaga na makakatumbas at makakapagbalik sa mga buhay na nawala. Sana kinonsider nila yung economic [values] para makatayo ulit ang mga pamilya sa sarili nilang mga paa. They should have put it in that context," he said.
He added, "We need to protect the interest of the families. From what we heard from the families, it makes it more imperative for us to compute our help to them in that economic value they deserve. Breadwinners yung mga nawala eh."
Meanwhile, Gatchalian said the local government had set up a one-stop assistance center for the families of the victims inside the city hall.
"Next Wednesday, may in-organize kami na one-stop assistance center para sa mga pamilya. At 11 o'clock, babalik lahat ng pamilya sa city hall para sa financial assistance namin sa kanila bukod pa doon sa burial assistance na ibibigay sa kanila pag na-determine na ang identities ng mga labi," he said.
Aside from that, the mayor said congressmen Sherwin Gatchalian and Wes Gatchalian, and many private individuals and groups like the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry are also extending help to the victims' families.
Government agencies like the Social Security System (SSS), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Pag-IBIG, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will also be at the one-stop center to assist and explain other benefits due to them.
The fire that gutted the rubber slipper factory on Wednesday claimed the lives of 72 people.
"Yung pamahalaang lungsod na po ng Valenzuela ang nag-organize nung paghanap ng ataul, yung paglagay sa nitso na temporary storage area nung mga labi. Pero di doon nagtatapos ang assistance ng pamahalaang lungsod ng Valenzuela," the mayor said.