By Anthony Giron
General Trias City, Cavite – City officials are set to posthumously recognize the bravery and dedication of Jerome de Guia Ismael, the line leader who died a hero as he saved the lives of fellow workers when fire broke out last week in the House Technology Industries (HTI) Pte. Ltd. factory.
City Information Officer Rommel Olimpo said likewise to be cited are the surviving line leaders and the rescuers who were the last men standing in the burning factory on Wednesday last week.
Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent Arthur Velasco Bisnar, Cavite Police Provincial Office director and a CMC member, confirmed yesterday that no casualties were found as authorities have searched 80 percent of the burnt factory.
Bisnar said that the teams from BFP and other concerned agencies would proceed with the search and clearing operations.
“Eighty percent of the total area was already processed. Cranes and other heavy equipment are being used in clearing the area,” Bisnar said.
Chief Inspector Ariel C. Avilla, General Trias fire marshal, said earlier that it may take weeks or even a month to clear the area of heavy debris and collapsed structures.
“Mayor Antonio Ferrer had mulled the recognition and tribute for Ismael, the other line leaders and rescuers who risked their lives for the workers at the factory. The conferment would be made in a flag-raising ceremony at the city hall grounds,” said Olimpo.
Ismael, 37, a resident of Maragondon, Cavite, succumbed to severe burns last Saturday at the Divine Grace Medical Center in General Trias.
He and the other line leaders stayed to assist hundreds of scampering workers as the fire spread and smoke billowed in the factory.
Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza, Cavite Governor Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, head of the Crisis Management Committee, and other officials earlier cited the heroic actions and sacrifices of Ismael and the other line leaders and the rescuers who stayed behind to help the workers as the factory was on fire.
One hundred twenty-six workers were reported injured, 10 of them critically.
Among those brought to hospitals were two Japanese officers of the firm.