Blame game on for Kentex tragedy?


Posted at May 19 2015 06:23 PM | Updated as of May 20 2015 02:24 AM

MANILA - Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian defended the provisional permit the local government issued to Kentex Manufacturing Inc., which he said was later sent to the Bureau of Fire Protection for endorsement.

In a statement, Gatchalian said the city government was merely following a joint memorandum circular issued by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of the Interior and Local Government in 2010 seeking to cut red tape in business transactions with government offices.

The circular urges local government units to put up one-stop shop processing centers while also acknowledging the right of the LGUs to issue provisional business permits.

Gatchalian took exception to BFP spokesman Renato Marcial’s statement that the factory owned by Kentex did not have a fire safety inspection certificate and operated only on the strength of a provisional permit.

A fire gutted the two-story Kentex building last week, killing 72 individuals. A welding activity near combustible materials was blamed for the fire.

"Hanggang dun lang po 'yan, wala pong naisyung fire safety inspection certificate," Marcial said in a radio DZMM interview.

"Bago mag-operate ang isang business, bago ma-occupy ang isang establishment, dapat mag-secure muna ng fire safety inspection certificate sa Bureau of Fire Protection."

Gatchalian said he does not want to play the blame game, but stressed he only wants to answer allegations that the city government was remiss in its duties.

He said that as part of standard operating procedures, provisional business permits are endorsed to the BFP for inspection. He said “they never got back” with their comments, which is why no action was taken against Kentex.

“What the LGU gave them was a provisional business permit. Now, based on that memorandum, it is the obligation of the Fire Marshall to make a recommendation either to revoke or grant a license to Kentex. But no action was taken by their office,” Gatchalian said.