The militant regional labor center PAMANTIK-KMU calls for aid and justice for the workers of House Technology Industries (HTI) still trapped in a fire since yesterday night.
The latest reports show that about 104 workers have been brought to various hospitals nearby. According to an HTI factory employee, some workers are still trapped inside, mostly due to the stampede that reportedly ensued as workers tried to file out of the factory.
According to reports on the ground, the fire has been declared out and teams are attempting to enter the building. Also, the fire is said to have been from an explosion in the first floor, which houses chemicals the factory uses.
A fact-finding team is now being organized by PAMANTIK-KMU to look into the situation of HTI workers.
HTI is located at the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Rosario, Cavite. It produces pre-fabricated houses for export.
We hope that the workers be given appropriate medical aid and hopefully acquire minimal damage from the fire.
Meanwhile, these incidents remain an imprint of capitalists’ neglect of occupational health and safety (OHS) standards which endanger the workers – an event that emerges like the incident in HTI.
We remember the Kentex factory fire last 2015, which rendered 72 dead as the owners were more concerned about workers taking away finished footwear than workers’ welfare.
With this, we call on local government units, OHS watchdog institutions and the Department of Labor and Employment to conduct investigations on the occupational health and safety standards of factories, whether they be in economic zones or not.
We are also angered by DoLE and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)’s silence on the matter and on the general status of occupational health and safety in various factories nationwide. It further endangers the workers in their workplaces, not knowing that these edifices are their future coffins.
If such, we may see such tragedies again, or worse. We workers cannot allow that to happen again. # # #
Photo from Inquirer.net / Joy Esguerra Cabacungan