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CBBRC: Kentex fire will serve to strengthen the workers’ movement

May 21, 2015

“Crispin ‘Ka Bel’ would have been enraged with the deaths of the Kentex workers in Valenzuela. He would also have been enraged with their working conditions,” Helen Simplina, acting Executive Director of Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center, said.

Simplina was referring to the massive fire in Kentex Manufacturing, Inc. building in Valenzuela. It killed 72 workers. She was speaking in front of a crowd of workers in Plaza Miranda for a commemoration of Ka Bel’s death, the seventh this year.

A fact-finding mission led by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) along with other labor groups and institutions found the Kentex factory management responsible for the large number of casualties after the incident due to violation of key safety rules such as absence of fire exits, ventilation, and fire drills.

“These humble workers put up with such conditions because they are prey to their economic situation. The prices of basic commodities are out of reach for these workers with their below minimum wages and being contractuals,” Simplina explained.

Simplina further expounded that it is high time for a P16,000 national minimum wage. This may help alleviate the drastic economic situation of workers.

“The Kentex fire will serve to strengthen the workers’ movement, as fire strengthens and molds steel. Hoepfully, this tragedy will push unite the people in pushing for humane working conditions, an humane national minimum wage, and the end of contractualization,” said Simplina.

“Ka Bel is no longer with us today. However, the causes he fought for remain relevant. So we must continue the good fight,” Simplina ended.