HTI cover-up exposed, over 1,328 workers still unaccounted for

February 21, 2017

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National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno today joined the Makabayan Bloc and the National Fact Finding Mission in a press conference at the House of Representatives to call for an immediate and independent probe on the apparent cover-up of the February 1 House Technology Industries tragedy in Cavite.

“We condemn the House Technology Industries, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the local government of Cavite for their attempt to cover-up what could be the worst workplace tragedy in history,” said KMU chairperson Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog.

The full report released by National Fact Finding Mission on the HTI tragedy held last February 2-5 revealed that at least 1,328 workers at HTI’s panel building remain unaccounted for and where over 582 are feared missing or dead. This data was based on the Department of Labor and Employment’s preliminary report on the HTI tragedy.

“We laud our pro-worker lawmakers in the MAKABAYAN Bloc for standing with workers in the search for truth and justice for HTI workers. We look forward that their resolution endorse the FFM results for a congressional probe would open doors towards holding the HTI, the PEZA, the Cavite LGU and even the DOLE accountable for the loss of workers’ lives,” Labog said.

KMU meanwhile slammed the Department of Labor and Employment for handling the HTI management with kid gloves amidst the apparent gross labor standards and occupational safety and health violations that caused the tragedy.

“Instead of holding the HTI accountable for the massive workers’ injuries and deaths, the DOLE has been handling them with kid gloves so as not to expose their own accountability for giving freedom to foreign big businesses, especially inside special economic zones, to siphon super profits by violating workers’ rights and welfare,” said Labog.

The labor center also claimed that the HTI tragedy puts into question one of the Duterte administration’s major economic policies of establishing more special economic zones to attract foreign investors and create an illusion of economic growth.

“The HTI tragedy highlights the worsening condition of workers under the government’s policy of promoting cheap, contractual, docile and precarious labor to attract foreign investors. This policy of offering workers’ lives to the altar of big business profits must stop,” said Labog.

The KMU called on Filipino workers to unite and join the fight for justice for HTI workers and all victims of workplace tragedies.

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