23 factories near Kentex also show fire code violations

MANILA, Philippines – An initial investigation of 23 establishments surrounding the ill-fated Kentex factory in Valenzuela City also showed violations of the country's fire code, President Benigno Aquino III revealed on Monday, June 1.

A total of 72 people were burned to death in May when a fire gutted the footwear factory, one of the worst fire incidents in the country's recent history.

"Pagkatapos ng Kentex, tiningnan ang kapaligid na factory. Twenty-three ang in-inspect ng Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) at ang pumasa wala. Twenty-three out of 23 may mga violations [sa Fire Code]. 'Yung isa sobrang dami ng violations pinasara na. 'Yung 22 may mga dapat i-correct," Aquino said in a press briefing on Monday, June 1.

(After the Kentex fire, the surrounding factories were inspected. The BFP inspected 23 and none of them passed. Twenty-three out of the 23 showed violations [of the Fire Code]. One registered so many violations that it was ordered closed. The other 22 have to correct several things.)

The President partly blamed the tragedy on city government officials for their supposedly lax issuance of permits. He explained how Kentex's violations of the Fire Code – including the absence of required fire exits – resulted in a situation where the employees were trapped in the burning building.

"This was a tragedy waiting to happen," Aquino said.

He also ordered a review of the fire permits issued over 300,000 establishments in Metro Manila. The biggest factories in terms of number of employees will be the priority. – Rappler.com