The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has discovered several violations committed by the owner of the slipper factory in Valenzuela City which caught fire last week, leaving 72 workers dead.
DOLE-National Capital Region Director Alex Avila said Monday that aside from engaging the services of a non-DOLE registered subcontractor, Kentex Manufacturing Inc. also underpaid its workers, failed to remit their Social Security System (SSS) and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) contributions and enforced illegal salary deductions.
Avila added that these were their findings based on the mandatory conference they held on Monday with Kentex subcontractor CJC Manpower Services and a brief dialogue with relatives of the fire victims as well as survivors.
Kentex did not send a representative even if the notice sent by DOLE was received by two of the company’s personnel on Friday, labor spokesman Director Nicon Fameronag told reporters.
Only Gilbert Mallari, the liaison manager of CJC Manpower Services, and consultant George Dimayuga attended the meeting.
“[There was] underpayment, nonpayment and nonremittance of SSS and PhilHealth [contributions] There was also supposedly an illegal [salary] deduction and cash bond of P100 per day,” Avila said in an interview.
He added that they would corroborate their findings with Kentex officials who have been summoned to a second mandatory conference on Wednesday, together with representatives of the firm’s union.
But all these labor violations will be addressed in a compliance order he will issue against Kentex and CJC to compel them to give the survivors and the dead victims’ kin their benefits and monetary entitlements, Avila said.
The compliance order will also initiate the filing of appropriate criminal cases in court against the two firms in coordination with the Department of Justice. He clarified, however, that this would depend on the police findings regarding the fire.
“If Kentex will not appear on Wednesday, on the basis of the documents we have and the statements of CJC and the workers we interviewed, we will commence with our legal action with respect to the enforcement of labor laws and this will be contained in a compliance order I will issue against them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the SSS will assist the families of those killed or injured in the May 13 fire.
In a statement on Monday, the state-run pension fund said a help desk would be set up at the Valenzuela City Hall’s audio-visual room on Wednesday, May 20, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Beneficiaries are advised to bring pertinent documents such as pay slips, employment contracts and valid IDs to file their SSS claims. For employees who were injured in the [incident], they should present their medical certificates,” the SSS said.
The dependents of those killed in the fire may claim death benefits, either through a lump sum payment or a monthly pension, on top of funeral benefits worth P20,000 under the employees’ compensation program, it added.