Despite the fact that the DOLE has cleaned up the list of fly-by-night subcontractors and reduced their number from 18,000 to 4,975 legitimate ones with the issuance of D.O. 18-A, there are, unfortunately, still some unscrupulous sub-contractors who are able to do business and there are still some unsuspecting employers who engage them, resulting to tragedy and disaster, such as the fire that razed the manufacturing plant of Kentex Manufacturing Corporation.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalind Dimapilis-Baldoz stated this yesterday after she received the initial report of DOLE-NCR Alex Avila saying that Kentex Manufacturing Corporation, a manufacturer of rubber slippers in Brgy. Ugong, Mapulang Lupa, Valenzuela City, has been engaging the services of a non-DOLE registered sub-contractor.
“I need to say this in the wake of this deadly fire accident. The company has engaged, and is engaging, the services of an illegal sub-contractor, a violation of the Labor Code, and therefore, it is responsible for the sub-contractor’s workers,” Baldoz said.
The sub-contractor, according to Dir. Avila’s report, is CJC Manpower Services, based on Mac Arthur Hi-Way, Calvario, Meycauayan, Bulacan. CJC was formerly Panday Management and Labor Consultancy owned by a certain Cynthia Dimayuga. Its operations manager is one Jojie Dimayuga.
“CJC has 104 workers deployed at Kentex at the time of the fire accident, and the DOLE has obtained a copy of the list of these workers provided by Jinky Anne Salas, CJC Human Resource Manager. When compared to the list of missing persons of Valenzuela City’s DSWD, it appeared that 36 of the missing persons are CJC workers deployed at Kentex,” said Avila.
He said, however, that during the time of the DOLE’s assessment of Kentex on 3 March 2014, there were no CJC workers at factory. It appears, however, Avila said, that Kentex engaged CJC after it was jointly assessed and issued a corresponding Certificate of Compliance (CoC).
“Based on this report, Kentex used the legitimacy of our assessment as cloak to circumvent our laws. I am very much disgusted by this kind of behavior,” an angry Baldoz said, adding:
“We will not sacrifice the goodwill of the many employers who have expressed faith in the DOLE’s new Labor Laws Compliance System over the ill-intent and deceptive behavior of a few employers. The standards, not only of legality, but more so the morality, in the conduct of business of such few employers then becomes an issue.”
Avila further reported that Kentex Manufacturing Corporation also employs piece rate workers, whom it directly hired and not deployed by CJC. This issue will be covered in the investigation.
Baldoz said the DOLE has already summoned the management of Kentex and CJC Manpower Services to a mandatory conference on Monday, 18 May, at the DOLE –NCR.
“Director Avila has issued Authority to Assess for the Occupational Safety and Health Investigation at Kentex Manufacturing Corp. and sent a Notice of Mandatory Conference. Both parties had received the notice. Our DOLE Regional Office No. 3, headed by Atty. Ana Dione, will attend the conference,” the labor and employment chief added.
She explained the mandatory conference will be an opportunity for the DOLE to ask questions related to Kentex operation, its treatment of its workers, OSH, and other labor issues.
In other developments, Baldoz has instructed DOLE Undersecretary Rebecca Chato to already set in motion a comprehensive, sustained, and massive education and information convergence program to acculturate workers and employers on workplace health and safety.
“Get the DOLE offices, with the Bureau of Working Condition, Occupational Safety and Health Center, Employees Compensation Commission, and Bureau of Labor Relations as lead agencies, to work with relevant national agencies, such as the Bureau of Fire Protection and Philippine National Police; local government units; unions; and employers on this program.
Baldoz was very particular about the role of unions, which she said should be watchdogs in factories and other establishments about workplace safety and health.
“The DOLE could not be present at the plant level 24/7, but worker representatives especially those sitting in the Safety Committee could. They should be vigilant on OSH, especially with employers short-changing their workers at the risk of their lives,” she said.