Gov’t sets nationwide fire safety compliance assessment after Kentex fire

By , on June 2, 2015

President Benigno Aquino III at the press briefing on the Kentex fire incident (Malacanang Photo Bureau)
President Benigno Aquino III at the press briefing on the Kentex fire incident (Malacanang Photo Bureau)

MANILA — The government is set to assess some 300,000 establishments in the National Capital Region (NCR) to check their compliance to safety regulations among others following the fire that killed about 70 individuals in Valenzuela City recently.

Dito kakasuhan natin, at the end of the day, yung mga lumabag ng batas,” President Benigno Aquino III said in a briefing Monday.

The Chief Executive said establishments in Metro Manila will be the first to be checked.

He said this process will be a challenge since in Metro Manila alone only two of the 17 cities, namely Quezon City and Valenzuela City, have computerized data base on this.

Because of this situation, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, in the same briefing, said he is scheduled to meet Metro Manila mayors on Tuesday to compile the necessary information.

Among those to be checked by personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) among others include compliance to having a fire brigade and automatic fire sprinklers and whether the establishments conduct fire drills.

The President said the public should always check the buildings they go into if these have the necessary fire protection system to prevent another tragedy.

He said coordination between the government and the public is needed to fast track the process of ensuring establishments’ compliance to fire safety rules and regulations.

Relatively, the President said he considers existing laws on fire safety as adequate but the problem involves enforcement, which he stressed would be the focus of their nationwide assessment.

He disclosed that a check on fire safety compliance of 23 other establishments around Kentex Manufacturing Corp. following the fire in May 2015 found all 23 to have violated the rules, just like Kentex.

“There were people in the Valenzuela city government who gave them a permit and a certificate of occupancy. That is an established fact,” he said

Asked on what charges will be filed against the persons who will be found guilty about the fire in a factory in Valenzuela City, the President said reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide is being looked at.

He added that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is still conducting its investigation on this to be able to determine who will face charges.