10:50:03 local time PHILIPPINES
* Ombudsman dared: Go after Baldoz, Roxas over Kentex fire:
File charges against top DOLE, DILG officials over Kentex factory fire.
This was national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s challenge to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales after she claimed that she is “apolitical” and suspended both Makati Mayor Junjun Binay who belongs to the opposition and former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, an ally of the president.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, both allies of the president, are among government officials that families of the victims and the survivors of the Kentex fire tragedy sued before the Office of the Ombudsman last June 8.
“We dare the Ombudsman to use her powers for the benefit of Filipino workers. Filing charges against Baldoz, Roxas and other top officials over the Kentex factory fire would show that she is ‘apolitical’ in a way that is significant to workers,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
The labor leader also reacted to news reports that the Department of Labor and Employment has already forwarded to the Department of Justice criminal charges against the capitalists of Kentex.
* Families of Kentex fire victims: ‘We will not drop claims’:
While 57 families have already dropped their claims against the footwear factory, some continue to reject the P151,200 settlement offer
Nearly two months since a deadly factory blaze killed their loved ones, some families of the 74 workers killed in Kentex Manufacturing Corporation in Valenzuela City vowed not to drop their claims against the footwear factory in exchange for what they considered a measly settlement.
Last month, 57 families already dropped their claims against Kentex in exchange for P151,200 ($3344).
But Ammied Rada, whose 21-year-old sister Gerly and 25-year-old brother Ericson died in the May 13 fire, said he has no plans of dropping the case against Kentex.
“Hindi ko iaatras. Gusto ko makamit ang hustisya para sa mga kapatid ko,” he said on Wednesday, July 8, after a second hearing at the National Labor Relations Commission in Quezon City. (I will not drop my claim. I want to obtain justice for my siblings.)
Rada said Kentex had offered the same amount to the 5 complainants who showed up at the hearing, despite earlier demands of P7 million for the victims and P4 million for the survivors.
Rada ridiculed what he considered a paltry sum that Kentex was offering for the horrific deaths of the 74 workers, most of whom had been working in dire conditions inside the factory.
* Police identifies all victims of Kentex fire, except one:
Police have identified all the Kentex factory fire victims except for one whom authorities plan to just declare as a missing person.
This, as police forensics experts were not able to extract samples from the recovered bone fragments due to the severity of the damage for the DNA testing.
With no DNA samples obtained, a police source said the Philippine National Police (PNP) may just declare the victim as missing person which means that the family will have to wait for seven years before the declaration of death.
The declaration of death of a person is necessary for claims and other legal procedures.
The PNP Crime Laboratory is expected to release the findings of its scope of work for the Kentex factory fire in May that left 74 people dead.
It was recalled that fire engulfed the Kentex factory and trapped most of its workers at the second floor.
The fire started at the main gate where welding works were being done.
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* DOJ finishes probe on Kentex fire, to release report soon:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has finished its review on the findings of an inter-agency task force that investigated the Kentex factory fire in Valenzuela City that killed 72 people on May 13.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, in a text message on Friday, said she had received the report of the special panel of prosecutors tasked to evaluate findings and come up with recommendations based on evidence gathered in the report of Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force (IATF) composed of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, and National Bureau of Investigation.
* Slipper factory workers to get P1.4 M more:
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has ordered Kentex Manufacturing Corp. to pay its workers an additional P1.4 million in money claims.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the agency issued an order requiring the owners of the slipper factory to pay the kin of 57 workers a total amount of P1,440,641.
The amount represents underpayment of basic wages, premium pay on rest day, non-payment of cost-of-living-allowance, regular holiday pay, overtime pay, night shift differential pay, 13th month pay, unauthorized deduction of cash bond and non-payment of service incentive leave pay, Baldoz said.
Earlier, DOLE ordered Kentex’s subcontractor, CJC Manpower Services, to pay 99 workers of the slipper factory P8.3 million.
DOLE has given Kentex 10 days upon receipt of the order to settle the money claims.
* Kentex told to pay 57 workers’ claims:
The Department of Labor and Employment-National Capital Region has ordered Kentex Manufacturing Corporation to pay 57 workers an aggregate amount of P1.4 million in money claims even as the Social Security System settled funeral benefits to relatives of 67 workers-victims of the fire that razed the company last May 13.
DOLE said the financial award is included in the compliance order issued by DOLE-National Capital Region Director Alex Avila based on the general labor standards and occupational safety and health investigation at the company .
* DNA tests identify 73rd Kentex fire victim:
Police forensic experts identified yesterday the 73rd victim of the fire that razed the Kentex slipper factory in Valenzuela City last May.
Officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) crime laboratory identified the male victim through DNA analysis.
Senior Superintendent Emmanuel Aranas, deputy director of the PNP crime laboratory, said DNA tests were conducted on bone fragments recovered from the factory located in Barangay Ugong.
Aranas withheld the identity of the victim, saying they would coordinate first with the relatives.
* DOLE-NCR orders Kentex to pay 52 workers, five others P1.4 million:
The Metro Manila office of the Department of Labor and Employment on Friday ordered Kentex to pay 57 of its workers an aggregate amount of P1.4 million in money claims, it was learned Wednesday.
The amount is on top of the P8.3 million that DOLE-Central Luzon ordered the slippers factory owner’s subcontractor CJC Manpower Services to pay its 99 workers which Kentex itself may end up paying because CJC Manpower is not a DOLE-registered sub-contractor.
In a news release, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz made this announcement after DOLE-Metro Manila Director Alex V. Avila submitted to her a report that his office has issued a compliance order on general labor standards and occupational safety and health investigation at the company razed by fire on 13 May 2015.
* DOLE recommends filing of criminal charges vs. Kentex:
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has recommended the filing of criminal charges against Kentex Manufacturing Corp., the owner of the gutted factory in Valenzuela City, which killed 73 people.
In a statement, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz disclosed she has already sent her recommendation to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which will consolidate all the charges to be filed by the government against the erring footwear company and its subcontractor, CJC Manpower Services.
“I have submitted a briefer on the violations of labor laws, detailing possible documentary evidence to support probable cause for the institution of criminal action against Kentex Manufacturing Corporation and CJC Manpower Services,” Baldoz said.
Based on its investigation, DOLE found Kentex and CJC liable for underpayment of minimum wage and large-scale illegal recruitment.
Both infractions are considered criminal acts since it violates provisions of the Labor Code.
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* SSS pays funeral benefits to Kentex fire victims:
The Social Security System (SSS) has paid funeral benefits to nearly all families that were affected by the fire that razed a factory in Valenzuela last month.
SSS said 67 of the 74 families of the victims received employees’ compensation (EC) funeral benefits. Nine families have also received Social Security (SS) funeral benefits.
EC funeral benefits granted to work-related deaths amount to P20,000.
Another P20,000 in SS burial benefits are currently being processed for the beneficiaries of the victims.
SSS said that to date, only seven EC funeral benefit claims are left for processing as some relatives of the deceased members still could not be found and others have yet to contact the government agency.