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After Valenzuela fire, PNoy orders review of PHL’s workers' safety standards

Following the Valenzuela factory fire earlier this month that killed 72 people, President Benigno Aquino III has directed government agencies to conduct a “comprehensive” review of occupational safety standards in the country.

During a meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday afternoon, Aquino ordered labor, local government and health officials to propose how to give teeth to the country’s laws on occupational and fire safety.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told reporters on Thursday that Aquino is open to amending occupational safety laws to make them more responsive to workers’ needs.

“Ang nais ng Pangulo ay iyong integrated multidisciplinary approach para mas maging mahigpit o responsive yung ating legal framework at mapanagot natin lahat ng mga may-ari ng mga establisyimento na nag-eempleyo ng mga manggagawa,” Coloma said at a press briefing.

The Palace official said Aquino emphasized during the hearing that a deadly fire in a commercial establishment should never happen again.

“Hinding-hindi natin gustong maulit ito… Lahat ng aspeto na dapat tingnan ay pinapaaral para makapagbuo ng isang komprehensibong tugon,” Coloma said.

Last May 14, at least 72 individuals died in a fire that razed a factory in Valenzuela owned by Kentex Manufacturing Corporation. The Bureau of Fire Protection is currently leading the probe on incident.

Following the deadly fire, Coloma said Congress should explore the possibility of criminalizing violations to occupational safety standards. He also cited a need to to update the Occupational Safety and Health Act, enacted in 1970.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago also called for the passage of a bill seeking to make building owners criminally liable for failure to comply with fire safety law. -- JST, GMA News