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DSWD Sec. Taguiwalo pledges department’s help to survivors of EPZA fire

HTI is on fire. EPZA. GATE-5. CAVITE
(Photo Screengrab from YOUTUBE)
QUEZON CITY - Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo in the afternoon of February 2, went to General Trias in Cavite to see the needs of survivors of the huge factory fire which erupted in the area yesterday afternoon.

The fire was at the House Technology Industries, a company that manufactures pre-fabricated house parts which are exported to Japan. The company is located inside the compound of the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) in Barangay Bacao in General Trias.

Based on various media reports, most of them inconclusive, over 100 workers have been injured and at least three are missing. It has also been reported that 10 of the injured are in critical condition.

When the fire broke out around 4:30 pm yesterday, a third of the company’s 15,000 employees were on duty. It has been reported that the fire broke out in a section where a machine which used to manufacture house insulation materials overheated and possibly exploded.

Sec. Taguiwalo is now on her way to the Divine Grace Medical Center, General Trias, one of the hospitals where the injured were taken to determine what assistance the department can provide to them and to the survivors and the families of those who were killed in the fire. She said that efforts to provide assistance to the fire survivors and their families will be primarily led by DSWD Calabarzon Field Office.

“We are shocked at the extent of the fire and the number of victims. We express the deepest sympathies for the families of those who were killed, and extend our full assistance to all the families of all the workers affected by the fire -- the families of those killed, and those who survived but were injured. Even as the true causes of the fire and the number of casualties are shockingly high, we share the worry of many of the public that occupational health and safety standards may have been compromised, and this is what made the factory more vulnerable to the fire that claimed so many lives,” she said.

“Occupational health and safety issues are a social welfare concern. While the details of what happened directly fall under the mandate of the Department of Labor and Employment to determine, we at the DSWD want to assure the workers of HTI of our full support and our readiness to provide them assistance that is within the means of the DSWD.” (DSWD)

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