4 face sanction, 2 execs off the hook in market fire probe PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 February 2016 11:56

By VIC LARATO

Mayor Beng Climaco has approved the report and recommendations of the fact-finding body that conducted an investigation on the Oct. 31, 2015 fire incident at Magay area of the main public market that killed 15 people, injured 13 others and damaged P8 million worth of properties.

In its 28-page report submitted to Mayor Climaco last Feb. 4, the fact-finding team headed by City Legal Officer Jesus C. Carbon Jr. recommended, among others, that the four market supervisors be asked to explain why they should not be administratively charged with neglect of duty for their failure to strictly implement and enforce the Market Code provision, prohibiting “human inhabitation” in the stalls inside the main public market.

Asked to explain were Nathaniel C. Asuncion, market supervisor IV; Alexander L. Enopia, market supervisor III, Jessie L. Calisay, market supervisor II, and; Aline M. Feliciano, market supervisor I.

The probe team underscored that as market supervisors they are directly responsible for the operations, maintenance, and activities of personnel inside the main public market.

“It is their duty to apprehend or cause the apprehension of violators of the Market Ordinance. They hold office with the market premises. They are responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Market Ordinance inside the main public market,” the probe team stressed in its report, adding that the named city government employees were the market supervisors at the time the fire broke out at the Magay area of the main public market.

At the same time, the probe body cleared officer-in-charge City Administrator Dr. Elmeir E. Apolinario and Assistant City Administrator Marie Angelique C. Go of any negligence on their part.

The evidence presented, according to the investigating body, showed no negligence on the part of Dr. Apolinario in directing the strict implementation and enforcement of the Market Code as attested by his several memoranda and letters on the matter.

“He has not been remiss in directing and enjoining the strict implementation of the Market Code,” said the probe body, whose members include Atty. Novelyn E. Ong-Villadolid and Atty. Anthony Quin A. Balagot, both of the City Legal Office.

On the part of Go, the investigators said she was appointed barely two months before the fire struck the main public market, thus she was not yet involved in the market operation.

Meanwhile, the investigating team also recommended that the City Engineer’s Office should conduct a survey of the area actually occupied by the main public market as required under Sec. 3 of the Market Code (Ordinance No. 2001-087).

It likewise recommended the rehabilitation of the market’s perimeter fence to prevent any persons from passing through it, and repair or reduce the number of gates with padlocks so that no person can enter the market after closing hours.

The team further recommended to the chief executive that a permanent police/military outpost be established inside the main public market to maintain peace and order thereat, and to install CCTV cameras in strategic places at the market in a bid to deter the commission of crimes and violation of city ordinances. — Vic Larato