Lest We Forget: The Kentex Factory Fire


It was May 13, 2015 when a fire broke out inside the Kentex Manufacturing Corporation in Valenzuela, Metro Manila. With over 200 workers, 150 were present inside the footwear factory when welding sparks ignited chemicals which quickly caused smoke and fire to spread. Black smoke engulfed the building quickly, rendering those in the second floor unable to escape.



There were 74 casualties in the fire. The incident gave rise to a series of cases and efforts of unions arraigning the company to answer its alleged illegal and exploitative labor practices and health and safety protocols.


In 2016, little a year over the incident, Ombudsman Carpio-Morales ordered criminal charges to be filed against the city mayor, 6 city officials, and the Kentex company owner. According to Business Human Rights,


“Morales said their investigation showed that the city officials issued business permits and fire safety certificates to Kentex despite blatant violations of the Fire Code, such as failing to “install a wet standpipe system, unserviceable extinguishers, lack of automatic fire alarm and sprinkler system, and absence of fire exit drills for workers.”…”

In 2019, the Supreme Court ordered the Kentex contractor to pay Php 1.4 million to its workers.


Sources:

https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/latest-news/kentexs-lawyer-responds-to-questions-about-health-safety-standards-fire-code-labour-rights/

https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/latest-news/philippines-supreme-court-orders-kentex-contractor-to-pay-php14m-in-unpaid-wages/