There is a need to review the law that created the special economic zones, and its implementing rules and regulations, particularly on the inspection of labor and occupational safety and health standards, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said yesterday.

Bello made the statement following the release of a preliminary report on the fire in one of the factories of House Technology Industries in Rosario, Cavite resulting to the death of two workers and injuries to more than 100 others last February 1.

“We need to review the PEZA law and its implementing rules and regulations, particularly on the conduct of fire inspection within the economic zone and inspection of locators to check compliance with general labor standards, occupational safety and health standards, and other laws and social legislations,” Bello said.

On February 8, Bello issued Administrative Order 32 constituting a DOLE Investigation Team for the conduct of Occupational Safety and Health Investigation to determine the compliance of HTI on occupational safety and health standards.

Bello also issued and Administrative Order which will review the Memorandum of Agreement between the Department and PEZA on the conduct of Technical Safety Inspection.

The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) facilitated the release of funeral benefit to the family of Jerom Sismaet who died after suffering severe burn injuries.

A preliminary report from Director Teresita Cucueco of the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) stated that the DOLE Regional Office IV-A issued HTI with Certificates of Compliance with General Labor Standards and Occupational Safety and Health Standards on February 11, 2016 after the conduct of joint assessment.

HTI was also issued with seven Permits to Operate to its caldera, three horizontal fire tubes, and three water tubes.

Cucueco, in her report, said that the HTI management has committed to shoulder medication and hospitalization of injured employees. It will also give financial assistance to families of employees who died during the fire incident.

HTI will also integrate all affected workers in its other operations. Presently, affected employees are required to just time-in and time-out but will receive full salary. The company plans to resume operation at the affected area within one month from the day the debris are cleared.

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