MANILA — Following the recent fire tragedy in Valenzuela, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is now pushing for a bill that will “give more teeth” to fire safety laws.
“Disasters such as the one in Valenzuela are unacceptable when we have laws that are supposed to minimize fire hazards and rule out fire traps. The only explanation is that these laws are not feared. We should give them more teeth,” Santiago said in a statement.
Last year, Santiago filed a bill that will make building owners criminally liable for failure to comply with fire safety laws.
Senate Bill No. 2530 seeks to hold owners or lessors of residential or commercial building accountable for the death, injury, and/or loss of property resulting from fire.
If proven guilty, they may face life imprisonment if fire incidents in their properties resulted to death.
Each of the families of the victims will also be given P1 million as indemnification.
“Stringent punishment will command wider adherence to existing laws, and hopefully mitigate damage, injury, and death due to fire,” she said.
She added that the current penalties for the failure to comply with Republic Act No. 9514, also known as the Fire Code, and Republic Act No. 6541, also known as the Building Code, were limited to fines, closure of buildings or revocation of permits.