PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

HOMESICK OFWs IN MALAYSIA FIND COMFORT IN FOOD, VIDEOKE


JUNE 2 ---Laguna restaurant  PHOTO by KRISTINE SABILLO/INQUIRER.net
 Tucked along a row of unassuming commercial establishments in downtown Kuala Lumpur (KL) is Laguna Restaurant, a humble eatery that has endeared itself to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). “This is our second home,” Rudylyn Magtubo, a child care provider, says of Laguna Restaurant, which is currently located along Jalan Gereja. While it is perhaps unusual to describe a restaurant as a “second home,” it seems quite true for Magtubo, who works at a nursery school. “After my class, I immediately go here. This is where I spend most of my time,” she tells INQUIRER.net. “Even on Saturdays and Sundays. I am here until  the evenings.”  Magtubo says she has been working in KL for three years and had difficulty adjusting to Malaysian food, which is usually spicy. She says she would rather eat hard-boiled egg and rice instead of trying the local food. She recalls how happy she was when she found out that there was a restaurant selling authentic Filipino food. READ MORE...

ALSO: Kids in Babuyan Islands need help in going to school, fulfilling their dreams


MAY 28 ---The children living in the northernmost part of the Philippines also dream big. One of them, however, just has the simplest of dreams. Photos courtesy of Fr. Joemar Sibug, O.P. What do you want to be when you grow up? This is the question we commonly ask children, a question we have once been asked as well ourselves. When I was about 11 years old, my Sibika teacher asked me that question and I immediately answered, "I want to be a journalist." Thankfully, God has been good to me. I was able to fulfill my dream. In doing my personal advocacy for the last seven years now, I have also come across children living in remote areas and have heard their big dreams. Many of them want to be teachers, others want to be doctors, or lawyers. Their status in life never stopped them from dreaming and dreaming really big. But in the northernmost tip of the Philippines, the Babuyan Islands, some kids only have the simplest of dreams. John Robert, for instance, dreams of eating—yes, eating—when he grows up. John Robert's image is one that volunteer and traveler Ann Marie Cunanan will never forget from her recent mission trip in the Babuyan Islands last May 16.. "Medyo nagdalawang-isip ako if ite-take ko ba answer niya or I'll ask him to change his answer, but I realized it's a simple dream. What he really wants is very simple lang—he just wants to eat. May kids like these people living in the mountains and in Babuyan na basic need such as education madali lang sa atin pero sa kanila, marami 'di nakakapag-aral," shared Ann. READ MORE...

ALSO: Stronger storms expected this year due to El Niño


JUNE 3 ---Tropical cyclones this year could become more intense as ocean temperatures rise due to the current El Niño phenomenon, an official of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has warned.
PAGASA Deputy Administrator for Research and Development Dr. Flaviana Hilario said more tropical cyclones could reach the typhoon category (with maximum winds of 118 kilometers per hour to 220 kph), or even super-typhoon (with maximum winds of more than 220 kph), due to warmer waters in the Pacific Ocean brought about by the prevailing El Niño phenomenon. It is known that warm ocean water is the perfect breeding ground for tropical cyclones. However, Hilario noted that not all tropical cyclones formed would be making landfall over the country. PAGASA has pointed out that El Niño causes the behavior of tropical cyclones to become erratic, affecting its tracks and intensity. The tropical cyclone tracks are expected to shift northward and its intensity could become stronger. It is expecting 11 to 16 tropical cyclones from June to December, which is the normal number of tropical cyclones during this period. READ MORE...

ALSO: Some things I learned while in Dubai


JUNE 3 ---DANIEL MATSUNAGA, Morissette with the writer DANIEL MATSUNAGA, Morissette with the writer
I have visited Dubai numerous times and every time I learn something new.
I was there again recently with hunk Daniel Matsunaga and “The Voice of the Philippines” finalist Morissette and it was no different. Here are things to remember: 1. BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU WEAR. Sleeveless shirts and shorts are allowed in Dubai but things could get hairy at times. I was told that a popular female TV host, product endorser and singer learned about it the hard way while in a mall in Sharjah, a city 10 minutes away from Dubai. She was reprimanded for wearing a revealing dress. It could’ve been worse; a gay comedian was said to have been detained for wearing short shorts. 2. EMPTY YOUR BLADDER BEFORE RIDING A CAMEL. 3. DO NOT BRING DANIEL MATSUNAGA IN A MALL FULL OF FILIPINOS. Why? You won’t be able to shop in peace. There will be tons of picture-taking all the way to midnight. Note that malls in Dubai close at 1 a.m. 4. DO MAKE MORISSETTE SING. This eighteen-year-old lass from Cebu City wowed Dubai with her singing. In fact, she did Regine Velasquez songs with perfect ease. 5. DUBAI IS OPULENCE REDEFINED. Did you know that police in Dubai drive Lamborghini? Some households even have tigers and cheetahs for pets. I espied Louis Vuitton trash bins in some parts of the city. And get this: they have machines not unlike our ATMs but it spits gold bars. READ MORE...

ALSO: Boracay experiencing beach erosion, 70% coral loss


JUNE 5 ---Boracay’s coral reef ecosystem was found to have been seriously degraded by tourism-related activities. File photo/Photo courtesy of Pioneer Group Foundation & Hut Studios 
 As coral cover in Boracay Island declined by about 70.5 percent from 1988 to 2011, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and a group of Japanese and Filipino scientists warned that the situation in the world-class tourist destination would lead to “imminent loss.” 
According to a study conducted by JICA, the highest decrease in coral cover in the 23-year period was recorded between 2008 and 2011, as tourist arrivals rose by 38.4 percent. The study also showed that the island is experiencing beach erosion. Boracay’s coral reef ecosystem was found to have been seriously degraded by tourism-related activities, according to another study conducted from 2010 to 2015. Unmonitored snorkeling and diving activities in coral-rich areas contributed to the damage, it said. The study was part of the Coastal Ecosystem Conversation and Adaptive Management (CECAM) project. CECAM scientist Miguel Fortes from the University of the Philippines also cautioned that water quality level at the eastern part of the Boracay beach is alarming, making it unsafe for swimming and other human activities. Direct discharge of untreated waste water near the shore brings about poor water quality level that consequently results in frequent algal blooms and coral reef deterioration, Fortes said. CECAM scientists warned that the sustainability of Boracay’s environment should not be exchanged for short-term economic gains, noting that the coral reef ecosystem is Boracay’s most important resource. According to sediment analysis, Boracay’s famous white sand is mostly from coral fragments and the seaweed Halimeda. Coral reefs also lessen the impact of strong waves to the beach hence protecting it from sand erosion. READ MORE...

House OKs resolution on GMA house arrest


JUNE 5 ---Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is currently detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City in connection with the alleged plunder of P366 million in funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. File photo
The House of Representatives adopted last night the resolution urging the Sandiganbayan to place former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo under house arrest on humanitarian grounds. The resolution was approved last month by the justice committee headed by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas who said the measure was not compulsory for the Sandiganbayan. Arroyo is currently detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City in connection with the alleged plunder of P366 million in funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Antonio Abad, former dean of the Far Eastern University Institute of Law and Adamson University College of Law, earlier said moves to place Arroyo under house arrest were not only based on humanitarian grounds but on legal foundation. He said Arroyo should be granted house arrest not only for humanitarian reasons but also because it is justified under the doctrine of equal protection of laws. He said should the Sandiganbayan deny her request for house arrest, it would be violating the doctrine because of a similar case involving former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada. READ MORE...

ALSO: Unsafe establishments in Valenzuela face closure


JUNE 5 ---INQUIRER FILE PHOTO 
The threat of criminal and administrative charges was enough for Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian to change his tune. Gatchalian issued an order on Wednesday revoking all business permits of establishments without a fire safety inspection certificate (FSIC) and serving notice of their closure. The order came two days after President Aquino warned officials of Valenzuela City that they could be held liable for issuing Kentex Manufacturing Inc. a business permit despite its noncompliance with fire safety standards, a violation of the Revised Fire Code of the Philippines. The slipper factory burned down on May 13, killing 72 people, mostly workers. Aquino said Kentex violated fire safety regulations by not having automatic fire sprinklers, fire detection and alarm systems, and protected fire escape. Partly upon the President’s instructions, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima created a special panel of prosecutors to determine whether there was enough evidence to file criminal and administrative charges against those behind the Kentex factory fire. Before the President’s statement, Gatchalian washed his hands of the tragedy, saying the city government was allowed to issue provisional business permits pending the grant of an FSIC. The mayor said the city policy was based on a memorandum circular issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to streamline business operations. Gatchalian on Thursday said he issued General Executive Order No. 2015-107 because of Aquino’s pronouncement and the conference of Metro Manila mayors where Interior Secretary Mar Roxas reiterated the “No FSIC, no business permit” directive. READ MORE...

ALSO INQUIRER Editorial:  All fired up
[And so the finger-pointing begins].


JUNE 4 ---A month after the deadly fire at the Kentex slipper factory in Valenzuela snuffed out 72 lives, President Aquino directed the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to inspect more than 300,000 factories in Metro Manila, after learning that 23 other factories in the city are in violation of fire safety regulations. Mr. Aquino also directed the Department of Justice to complete its probe and file criminal and administrative charges against those found to be remiss in their duties, including local officials who issued business permits to Kentex despite its noncompliance with fire safety standards, a violation of Republic Act No. 9154 or the Revised Fire Code of the Philippines. But Valenzuela Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian has shifted the blame on the BFP. If local officials waited for the BFP to inspect all business establishments in the city before issuing them permits to operate, “what will happen to the local economy?” he said, adding: “And how many jobs are we talking about?”  The mayor said the issuance of provisional business permits pending the grant of a fire safety inspection certificate (FSIC) was based on a memorandum circular issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, meant to streamline business operations. According to that DILG directive, the BFP should file a written report to City Hall listing the companies falling short of compliance with fire safety requirements so that their provisional business permits could be revoked, Gatchalian said. But where were the BFP’s written reports? he asked. What he conveniently forgot to mention was that, despite the BFP’s negligence—apparent since some 300,000 factories in Metro Manila alone need to be inspected—the fact remains that issuing business permits is a responsibility that rests solidly on local government. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Homesick OFWs in Malaysia find comfort in food, videoke


Laguna Restaurant Phil Food kuala Lumpur FACEBOOK PHOTO

MANILA, JUNE 8, 2015 (INQUIRER) Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ June 2, 2015 - Tucked along a row of unassuming commercial establishments in downtown Kuala Lumpur (KL) is Laguna Restaurant, a humble eatery that has endeared itself to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“This is our second home,” Rudylyn Magtubo, a child care provider, says of Laguna Restaurant, which is currently located along Jalan Gereja.

While it is perhaps unusual to describe a restaurant as a “second home,” it seems quite true for Magtubo, who works at a nursery school.

“After my class, I immediately go here. This is where I spend most of my time,” she tells INQUIRER.net. “Even on Saturdays and Sundays. I am here until the evenings.”

Magtubo says she has been working in KL for three years and had difficulty adjusting to Malaysian food, which is usually spicy. She says she would rather eat hard-boiled egg and rice instead of trying the local food.

She recalls how happy she was when she found out that there was a restaurant selling authentic Filipino food.

READ MORE...
“It’s really good. You won’t miss the Philippines because of the delicious food,” she says in Filipino.

Good food

Ronnie Tan, one of the owners of Laguna Restaurant, says they are proud of being the only full-fledged Filipino restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.


Laguna restaurant  PHOTO by KRISTINE SABILLO/INQUIRER.net

“There are many turo-turo in Kota Raya. (But) to push the cuisine you should serve them well and (have) hot (food),” he says, explaining that unlike a turo-turo where people are given food displayed in the stalls, his staff cooks meals only when customers order them.

Tan, who is a Malaysian Chinese contractor, first opened his restaurant in Malacca in 2010. He and his partner, a Filipina, came up with the idea after their friends lamented about not having a Filipino restaurant in the area.

He says the business allowed them to give jobs to their unemployed friends, although they had to hire a cook from the Philippines.

In 2012, they decided to transfer the business to KL after Filipino patrons told them that there would be more customers in the city.

Currently he has a five-man staff: a cook and four people assisting in the kitchen. “All from the Philippines. I’m the only one who is non-Filipino,” he says.

Although there are other restaurants offering Filipino food, Tan says those are halal-compliant and do not serve pork, which is among the meat staples in Filipino cuisine.

He says they even buy seasoning and condiments from the Philippines to ensure that the food is authentic.

Their bestsellers? Crispy pata and sisig.

Their sisig, served on a sizzling plate with egg, a drizzle of mayonnaise and large slices of red and green chili peppers, tastes very similar to the ones sold in restaurants in Manila.

Elbert Napa, an architect working on a train project in KL, said he goes to Laguna Restaurant twice or thrice a month. On Fridays, he brings his Malaysian colleagues with him.

“It’s authentic. That’s why I return here, especially when I crave for Filipino food,” he says. “YOu can’t find pakbet or tinola in other restaurants here.”

Asked if the food tastes delicious, he says, “It tastes good because the ones preparing the food are Filipinos.”

Good company

Shirley Seña, on the other hand, said she also goes to Laguna Restaurant for the company.

“When we meet a new friend, we bring them here,” she says. “The food is delicious here. We have so much fun and the place is pleasant. They even have videoke.”

Seña says sometimes there is singing and dancing.

In fact, it is in Laguna Restaurant that she met and befriended Magtubo.

Magtubo says she has met a lot of her friends in the eatery. This is because many OFWs attend Mass at the nearby St. John’s Cathedral and then go straight to Laguna Restaurant for lunch.

“This is where I started to have a lot of friends,” she says.

Seña says it also helps that Tan and his partner are very accommodating.

Throughout the interview, Tan would greet newcomers. Afterwards, he would check on them, especially the group of Chinese teenagers who decided to try Filipino cuisine for the first time.

He says he feels “satisfaction” whenever he sees the place full.

“It’s good to know that most of the Filipinos know our restaurant,” he adds.

Always the enterprising businessman, Tan says he plans to expand his business.

He explains that the current location is not favorable to OFWs working elsewhere.

“We need to branch out so we can reach them,” he explains.

He says he is already planning to open a restaurant near Genting Highlands and perhaps another one along Jalan Alor.

Genting Highlands is a hill resort popular for its casinos while Jalan Alor is a popular food destination in Kuala Lumpur, featuring restaurants selling seafood and other Asian cuisine.

Like Merienda de Eva, which caters to another target market in Damansara Heights, Laguna Restaurant has paved the way for the recognition of Filipino cuisine in Malaysia.

It has been featured in local television shows and publications, including TimeOut Kuala Lumpur, a popular consumer magazine.

For now, Laguna Restaurant continues to serve its purpose by providing comfort food to OFWs. Indeed, food from the homeland can be a powerful balm or cure to homesickness.


GMA NEWS ONLINE

Kids in Babuyan Islands need help in going to school, fulfilling their dreams By LIA MANALAC DEL CASTILLO, GMA News May 28, 2015 1:26pm


The children living in the northernmost part of the Philippines also dream big. One of them, however, just has the simplest of dreams. Photos courtesy of Fr. Joemar Sibug, O.P.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This is the question we commonly ask children, a question we have once been asked as well ourselves. When I was about 11 years old, my Sibika teacher asked me that question and I immediately answered, "I want to be a journalist."

Thankfully, God has been good to me. I was able to fulfill my dream.

In doing my personal advocacy for the last seven years now, I have also come across children living in remote areas and have heard their big dreams. Many of them want to be teachers, others want to be doctors, or lawyers. Their status in life never stopped them from dreaming and dreaming really big.

But in the northernmost tip of the Philippines, the Babuyan Islands, some kids only have the simplest of dreams. John Robert, for instance, dreams of eating—yes, eating—when he grows up.

John Robert's image is one that volunteer and traveler Ann Marie Cunanan will never forget from her recent mission trip in the Babuyan Islands last May 16.

The children living in the northernmost part of the Philippines also dream big. One of them, however, just has the simplest of dreams. Photos courtesy of Fr. Joemar Sibug, O.P.

"Medyo nagdalawang-isip ako if ite-take ko ba answer niya or I'll ask him to change his answer, but I realized it's a simple dream. What he really wants is very simple lang—he just wants to eat. May kids like these people living in the mountains and in Babuyan na basic need such as education madali lang sa atin pero sa kanila, marami 'di nakakapag-aral," shared Ann.

READ MORE...
The mission trip joined by Ann dubbed as Project Aral, Silid-Aklatan was started by Fr. Joemar Sibug, O.P. in 2009 when he was still the parish priest in the islands. Every year, Father Joemar would gather volunteers to join him in Babuyan Islands, carrying loads and boxes of school supplies for the kids.

Volunteer groups such as the Black Pencil Project and The Storytelling Project have consistently joined Father Joemar and brought much needed help to the island kids.

One volunteer, Dino Dimar who also happens to be one of the survivors of the 2014 Florida bus crash, vividly remembers an encounter with a Grade 4 student in Sitio Morol in Babuyan Islands in one of his trips.

"'Yung ibang bata, gusto maging doktor, engineer. 'Yung isang bata, si Ricky, tinanong namin siya, 'Ricky, ano gusto mo?' Simple lang sagot niya: Gusto niya maging grade 4. Natawa kami lahat pati mga students pero na-realize namin (na) tama si Ricky na gusto niya maging grade 4 kasi walang kasiguraduhan na aabot siya ng grade 4 dahil sa hirap ng buhay," Dino said.

Babuyan Islands can be reached by boat, five hours from Aparri, Cagayan. The huge waves you encounter on the seas along the way is no joke, said many of the volunteers who have participated in the mission trips.

In one instance, Dino said their boat almost sank and the notebooks they were carrying got wet. But the kids patiently dried them all up.

Despite the difficulty of reaching Babuyan Islands, Father Joemar said he will never get tired of going back. Currently he has been assigned in General Santos City.

"Ang mga tao du'n sa isla ay mga farmers at fishermen. In spite of poverty, ang mga bata araw-araw pumapasok. Hindi nag-a-absent. Gusto makaahon sa kahirapan," he said.

In March and May this year, Father Joemar and his volunteers were able to collect 1,500 school supplies for the 1,500 school kids.

"About 1,500 kids ang binigyan namin ng school supplies (five elementary schools, two primary schools) sa Camiguin Norte and Babuyan Claro. May mga bata kasi (na) 'pag kulang o walang gamit sa school, hindi na papasok or tinatamad kasi walang gamit. We make sure na papasok sila kasi may gamit sila. May mga pangarap din sila sa buhay—ang makatulong sa kapwa, kaya doktor, sundalo, teacher—mga service careers."

However, many of these kids are not able to continue with their high school education because they lack the resources. This is why Father Joemar recently opened a Send a Child to School program.

For only P100 a month or P1,000 a year, one can already send a child to high school in the Babuyan Islands. Currently, the program is still in need of donors and sponsors.

Personally, I have not been to Babuyan Islands, but seeing and hearing these stories, I look forward to the day I can personally meet these children.

In our own little way, maybe, we can help them realize their dreams. —KG, GMA News

To help these kids visit the Send A Child To School page on Facebook.


MANILA BULLETIN

Stronger storms expected this year due to El Niño by Ellalyn De Vera June 3, 2015

Tropical cyclones this year could become more intense as ocean temperatures rise due to the current El Niño phenomenon, an official of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has warned.

PAGASA Deputy Administrator for Research and Development Dr. Flaviana Hilario said more tropical cyclones could reach the typhoon category (with maximum winds of 118 kilometers per hour to 220 kph), or even super-typhoon (with maximum winds of more than 220 kph), due to warmer waters in the Pacific Ocean brought about by the prevailing El Niño phenomenon.

It is known that warm ocean water is the perfect breeding ground for tropical cyclones.

However, Hilario noted that not all tropical cyclones formed would be making landfall over the country.

PAGASA has pointed out that El Niño causes the behavior of tropical cyclones to become erratic, affecting its tracks and intensity. The tropical cyclone tracks are expected to shift northward and its intensity could become stronger.

It is expecting 11 to 16 tropical cyclones from June to December, which is the normal number of tropical cyclones during this period.

READ MORE...
During the mild to moderate El Niño event in 2009-2010, PAGASA has recorded a number of strong tropical cyclones inside the Philippine area of responsibility.

EL NIÑO TYPHOONS

In 2009, of the 22 tropical cyclones that were recorded, five reached the typhoon category, namely typhoons “Dante” (international name Kujira), “Emong” (Chan-hom), “Kiko” (Morakot), and “Santi” (Mirinae).

Meanwhile, three super typhoons were formed in 2009, namely “Pepeng” (Parma), “Quedan” (Melor), and “Ramil” (Lupit), which all occurred in October of that year.

The destructive tropical cyclone “Ondoy” (Ketsana) that also occurred in September, 2009 was just a tropical storm and did not reach the typhoon category.

In 2010, of the 11 tropical cyclones that were recorded, four have reached the typhoon category and one super typhoon, namely typhoons “Basyang” (Conson), “Glenda” (Kompasu), “Inday” (Fanapi) and “Katring” (Chaba), and super typhoon “Juan” (Megi).


INQUIRER EDITORIAL

Editorial: All fired up Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:10 AM | Thursday, June 4th, 2015

And so the finger-pointing begins.

A month after the deadly fire at the Kentex slipper factory in Valenzuela snuffed out 72 lives, President Aquino directed the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to inspect more than 300,000 factories in Metro Manila, after learning that 23 other factories in the city are in violation of fire safety regulations.

Mr. Aquino also directed the Department of Justice to complete its probe and file criminal and administrative charges against those found to be remiss in their duties, including local officials who issued business permits to Kentex despite its noncompliance with fire safety standards, a violation of Republic Act No. 9154 or the Revised Fire Code of the Philippines.

But Valenzuela Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian has shifted the blame on the BFP. If local officials waited for the BFP to inspect all business establishments in the city before issuing them permits to operate, “what will happen to the local economy?” he said, adding: “And how many jobs are we talking about?”

The mayor said the issuance of provisional business permits pending the grant of a fire safety inspection certificate (FSIC) was based on a memorandum circular issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, meant to streamline business operations.

According to that DILG directive, the BFP should file a written report to City Hall listing the companies falling short of compliance with fire safety requirements so that their provisional business permits could be revoked, Gatchalian said. But where were the BFP’s written reports? he asked.

What he conveniently forgot to mention was that, despite the BFP’s negligence—apparent since some 300,000 factories in Metro Manila alone need to be inspected—the fact remains that issuing business permits is a responsibility that rests solidly on local government.

READ MORE...
If companies cannot present the required FSIC because the BFP was a slacker, why give them permits to operate at all? Why not withhold the permits pending their compliance with fire safety requirements? The prospect of losing business over such delay could, at the very least, compel factory owners to prod, follow up and pressure the BFP to buckle down to its sworn duty.

The Kentex case is particularly telling of how the local government had looked the other way despite the firm’s blatant violations of the fire safety code. Citing BFP findings, the President said the slipper factory had no automatic fire sprinklers, fire detection and alarm systems, and protected fire escape.

Gatchalian was being disingenuous when he said that Kentex was given a provisional permit last January, subject to revocation should the BFP issue an adverse report upon inspection—which it never did until the factory burned down on May 13. But then again, emergency exits, sprinkler and alarm systems, and fire escapes are major investments that cannot just be dismantled once installed.

Does this mean that Kentex, which managed to secure an FSIC only in 2012 and, to take the mayor’s word for it, in 2015, had been operating since 1996 without the necessary fire safety requirements?

The BFP is culpable as well, as it boggles the mind how 300,000 factories in Metro Manila have remained virtual firetraps all along. This huge backlog begs the question: What has taken the BFP so long to do its job? Doesn’t it usually take months, even years, for factories to be set up, time enough for the BFP to conduct preliminary inspections, starting with the building’s blueprint to check for fire escapes and emergency exits? The ocular could always follow later.

In politics and in disasters, Filipinos have a notoriously short memory. Kentex is just the latest incident of criminal neglect that, hopefully, would reap concrete government action this time. We have to ask: How can people so easily forget the Ozone disco fire in 1996, when fire safety violations similarly cost 162 young lives? And at year’s end, how often do we brace for news of yet another illegal fireworks factory blowing up?

The Kentex fire and the case of 300,000 disasters waiting to happen in similarly situated sweatshops have moved politicians to trumpet grand plans to address this life-and-death issue. But let’s not forget: No amount of politicking and finger-pointing can bring back 72 lives. And only the firm resolve to hold people accountable to their publicly sworn responsibilities will save other endangered lives.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE