End impunity on violations of labor rights, justice for HTI workers

A labor non-government organization (NGO) demands the Duterte administration to hold House Technology Industries (HTI) management accountable for violations of labor rights after a huge fire destroyed the factory complex on February 1, 2017.

As of this release, the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (EILER) has confirmed that at least 150 workers were injured while reports from fact-finding mission being conducted by partner NGOs on the ground state that hundreds remain missing after being trapped inside the complex located in the Cavite Export Processing Zone.

EILER also criticized the Department of Labor and Employment on its Labor Laws Compliance System under the Department Order 131-B, which encourages voluntary compliance of business owners and less government intervention. The labor NGO asserted that this has led to lack of accountability from both local and national government. In turn, capitalists continue to abuse and exploit workers. “The lack of concrete measures from the labor department concerning workplace tragedies is appalling,” EILER deputy executive director Rochelle Porras said. “Its silence on workers’ issues has permitted capitalists to foster poor working conditions resulting to gross violations of labor rights, and worse, the workers’ lives.”

EILER expressed its support to repeal DO 131-B, which enforces a weak and voluntary model of workplace inspection under the banner of tripartism. The labor NGO also stated that certified government labor inspectors should strictly and mandatorily inspect the workplaces, independent from the management’s intervention.

“What happened to HTI, and similarly to previous factory tragedies, are not merely accidents but industrial manslaughter of workers,” Porras said. “We express our deepest condolences and are one with the victims and their families in calling for justice and accountability of the HTI management, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, DOLE and other government agencies involved.”

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