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Kentex told to pay 57 workers’ claims

The  Department of Labor and Employment-National Capital Region  has ordered Kentex Manufacturing Corporation to pay 57 workers an aggregate amount of P1.4 million in money claims even as the Social Security System  settled funeral benefits to relatives of  67  workers-victims of the  fire that razed the company last May 13.

DOLE said the financial award  is included in the compliance order issued by DOLE-National Capital Region Director Alex Avila based on the general labor standards and occupational safety and health investigation at the company .

“I have issued the Compliance Order to Kentex Manufacturing Corp. and Messrs. Beato Ang and Ong King Guan in their capacities as Chairman/CEO and Chief Finance Officer of Kentex, respectively, ordering them to pay the total amount of P1,440,641.39 million to 57 workers who executed affidavits before the DOLE. Of the awardees, five are also included in the Compliance Order issued by Director Ana Dione last June 8,”  Avila said in his report to DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

Based on the order, the amount represents underpayment of basic wages; underpayment of premium pay on rest day; non-payment of cost-of-living-allowance; non-payment of regular holiday pay; underpayment of overtime pay on regular day; underpayment of night shift differential pay on regular day; non-payment of 13th month pay; unauthorized deduction of cash bond; and non-payment of service incentive leave pay.

Of the 57 workers, Jay-Ar Dayon has the biggest claim and is expected to receive P228,444.16, while Virgilio Raro has the smallest amount of claim of P557.65.

Other workers with six-digit money claims are Celso Clemena, P138,076.43 and Ace Pagonsaga, P100,892.53. The claims of the other workers range from tens of thousands to hundreds of pesos only.

“Failure to pay said workers within ten days shall cause the imposition of the penalty of double indemnity pursuant to R.A. 8188, otherwise known as “An Act Increasing the Penalty and Imposing Double Indemnity for Violation of the Prescribed Increase or Adjustment in the Wage Rates,” he said.

Baldoz noted the financial awards  paid  for claims for general labor standards and did not include other claims that the workers  had  arising from the criminal and civil cases they may have filed or to be filed against Kentex.

The order was already served to the respondents, including lawyers   Renato Paraiso and  Edward Sipin who are representing Kentex as   legal counsels.

Baldoz had already submitted to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima  an endorsement for the filing of criminal case/s against the owner/s or responsible officers of Kentex  and CJC Manpower Agency relative to the Valenzuela fire incident.

“I have submitted a briefer on the violations of labor laws, detailing possible documentary evidence to support probable cause for the institution of criminal action against Kentex Manufacturing Corporation and CJC Manpower Services,” she said.

Meanwhile,  the SSS  paid  funeral benefits to 67 of the 74 families of victims of the fire that broke out at Kentex   in Valenzuela City last month. Nine of these families have also received Social Security (SS) funeral benefits.

EC funeral benefits granted to work related deaths amount to P20,000. Another  P20,000 in SS burial benefits are currently being processed for the beneficiaries of the victims.

Of the 74 victims of the  Kentex fire, 33 had no records with the SSS. To facilitate processing of claims, SSS had to assign SSS numbers and dates of coverages for each of these deceased workers.

“We visited the families of the victims so that we could immediately determine the rightful beneficiaries. We used the master list provided by the local government unit (LGU) of Valenzuela City to locate the families of the victims,” said senior vice president Jose Bautista of NCR Operations Group.

The   master list served as the death certificate of the 74 victims. The list includes the name, address, name of spouse or relatives of deceased member.

Last June 8, the SSS approved the special policy for the processing of benefit claims of Kentex victims. SSS Commission Resolution No. 444 S-2015, lifted the usual policy of four years waiting period for the “presumption of fact of death.” Because of this ruling, in the case of the victims of Kentex, there was no need to wait for four years to prove the death of a member prior to processing of burial benefit.

After payment of funeral benefits, the SSS will start processing the death benefit claims for the relatives of the victims of Kentex. The amount of death benefit will depend on the number of SSS contributions paid by the member. If the married deceased member was able to pay at least 36 monthly contributions, the legal spouse of the member will receive a lifetime death pension as well as dependent’s pension for minor children until they reach age 21; however, if the member is single, his secondary or designated beneficiaries will receive a lump sum benefit. Meanwhile, a lump sum benefit will be granted to the relatives of members who were not able to contribute for at least 36 month. 

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