Philippines: Deadly fire at factory with record of abuse

Protest at Kentex factory, Valenzuela City, Metro Manila, May 15. Photo: Partido Lakas ng Masa/Facebook.

Revelations have continued emerging over safety and labour abuses at the Philippines factory where 72 people died in a fire on May 13.

Workers at a nearby factory said that people watched helplessly as victims begged for help from the barred windows of the factory as flames and smoke engulfed the building.

At least 104 workers at the Kentex Manufacturing Corporation were recruited by an illegal sub-contractor, labour secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said, adding that the owners will be summoned to answer the charges.

Karlo Alexei Nograles, chairperson of the house of representatives’ committee on labour, said he would open an inquiry into the tragedy focusing on the safety practices of the factory. It has been reported the building did not have fire sprinklers.

The International Labour Organisation urged the Philippines to tighten its labour safety and health standards, while national trade union federations criticised officials for lax inspections of workplaces.

[Abridged from the Morning Star.]

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