Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has instructed the city’s Business Permits and Licensing Department (BPLD), Department of Building Official (DBO), Zoning Administration Unit, and Quezon City Fire District (QCFD) to strictly and rigorously inspect businesses in subdivisions and other residential areas, pursuant to their respective mandates.
This comes after the recent fire in Pleasant View Subdivision, Barangay Tandang Sora that engulfed a residence-turned-manufacturing building, resulting in the death of 15 people, including a three-year old child.
“Ang trahedyang ito ay naiwasan sana kung walang palusot at panlilinlang na nangyari. Buhay ang naging kapalit ng hindi tamang pagsunod sa ating mga batas at regulasyon. Hindi natin ito hahayaang maulit. Mananagot ang dapat managot, at isasara natin ang dapat isarang negosyo na hindi sumusunod sa tama,” Belmonte said.
Based on the initial investigation, the 200 square meter-building was utilized as a t-shirt printing house contrary to the declared 15 square meter – business as trader/ contractor of ready to wear clothes, garments, and bags, as was represented to the BPLD upon application for Business Permit.
According also to the DBO, the establishment does not have a building permit under the name of the owner and the same address.
Further, the shop, under the name “MGC Wearhouse Inc.” had been a registered business since 2013. However, because of the automation and ease of doing business implementation of the city, it was discovered that the business cannot continue to operate in the subdivision, and in April 2023 was asked to relocate within a year.
“Kalunos-lunos ‘yung nangyaring sunog na hindi mangyayari kung tama sana ang idineklarang negosyo ng korporasyon. Mas hihigpitan pa natin ‘yung proseso at assessment bago makakuha ng permit lalo na para sa mga negosyong nakatayo o itatayo sa loob ng subdivisions o high-density residential areas,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.
The City Legal Department has also formed a Special Panel of Investigators to probe the incident and if warranted by evidence, to file the appropriate case(s) against pertinent and surviving officers of the corporation.
These charges may include Reckless Imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and physical injuries; Violation(s) of the Fire Code (RA 9514); Violation(s) of the Building Code (PD 1096); and Violation(s) of Labor Laws and Standards.
Administrative and criminal cases will also be filed against local government personnel found to be liable after the conduct of the investigation.
Finally, Belmonte also directed Quezon City Attorney Niño Casimiro to provide legal assistance to the survivors and the victims’ families who want to file civil cases against MGC Wearhouse, Inc.
“Tinitingnan din natin ‘yung posibleng kamalian o pagkukulang ng government personnel na humahawak ng mga ganitong permit o dokumento. Kahit ang mga taga-lokal na pamahalaan, barangay at homeowner’s association, titingnan natin kung may kapabayaan. Imo-monitor na rin natin ‘yung mga negosyo na dumadaan sa mga Homeowners Association at mga barangay,” the Mayor added.
“Umaasa rin ako sa tulong at suporta ng taumbayan. Bukas ang lokal na pamahalaan sa anumang reklamo o sumbong ninyo kung mayroon mga illegal na negosyo sa inyong lugar para mabilis natin itong matigil at mailigtas ang mga inosenteng trabahador, at pati kayong mga nasa komunidad,” Belmonte said.
The City’s Social Services Development Department is currently extending assistance to the families of the victims while the PNP-SOCO is undergoing its own probe. The city will provide necessary services for them, including burial assistance, financial assistance, and livelihood assistance, to help them cope from the tragedy.
“Habang hinihintay natin ang resulta ng DNA test at imbestigasyon ng SOCO at iba pang ahensya, nagbigay na ng pansamantalang tirahan ang lokal na pamahalaan para sa kanilang pamilya na lumuwas mula sa Mindoro at iba pang lugar,” Belmonte said.