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Group: Baldoz must resign over Kentex fire

A labor group is now calling for the resignation of Department of Labor and Employment chief Rosalinda Baldoz for the fire that killed 72 workers at a slippers factory in Valenzuela City.
MANILA,Philippines - Labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) has called on Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to resign over the fire that razed a factory in Valenzuela City, where 72 workers were killed.
 
"While local officials of Valenzuela are guilty for negligence of duty and most probably corruption and collusion with the employer, Baldoz remains to be the prime culprit in the tragedy when she ordered and implemented outright anti-worker policies that principally contributed to the misery and the deaths of the workers at Kentex," BMP Chair Leody de Guzman said.
 
"Her defense last week of the issuance of Certificate of Compliance to the Kentex management as a compliant of labor and safety standards is insignificant compared to the damage inflicted by her policies," he added. 
 
De Guzman said that Baldoz's initial defense of the owner of the slippers factory, Kentex Manufacturing Corp.,  only confirms her pro-management stance.
 
"Her bias is tantamount to the total betrayal of the post entrusted to her," he said. 
 
De Guzman said that since her assuming the post in 2010, Baldoz  has been issuing regulations that would accommodate the interests of big businessmen, such as Department Orders (DO) 18-A in 2011 and 131-13 in 2013.
 
"The issuance of DO 18-A ushered the legalization of sub-contracting, even if it is contrary to the Constitution and the Labor Code. This also cemented the cheap labor policy of the government that opened the flood gates to pervasive unfair labor practices as sweatshops mushroomed nationwide," he said. 
 
Meanwhile the DO 131-13 meant that establishments like factories were presumed safe until proven unsafe.
 
De Guzman added that the findings of the recent mandatory inquiry between DOLE officials and the contractors last Monday were just the surface of the miserable working conditions that needed no investigation. 
 
"The non-remittance of PhilHealth and SSS contributions and underpayment of wages are the least of such abuses," he said.
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