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BFP-Iloilo finds flaws in fire code compliance by 5 BPO companies

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — The Bureau of Fire Protection-Iloilo City, in its latest routine inspection, found this early five of more than 40 business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in the city to be deficient in compliance of the Fire Code of the Philippines.

Chief Inspector Christopher Regencia, BFP-Iloilo City fire marshal, said these companies are Hinduja Global Solutions, Savant Technologies, TeleTech, GC Contek Solution Call Center, and Reed Elsevier.

Regencia said that fire safety inspectors found Hinduja Global to have defective automatic fire detection and alarm system, while Savant had inadequate number of emergency lights. As of this writing, however, the two companies have already corrected the defects in compliance with the law.

In TeleTech, two of six fire exits were found to have other uses, in violation of the Fire Code. The number of fire exits was adequate, but Regencia said that, under the law, "the fire exit should have no other purpose. And we just want them to eliminate that other purpose of two of their fire exits."

Regencia also said that GC Contek was found to have a depressured fire extinguisher and its building has no fire alarm, has inadequate number of fire exit drills conducted, and its alternate exit stair does not terminate directly to the public ways. The 5th BPO, Reed Elsevier, only failed to show a fire safety inspection certificate, said Regencia.

The five companies were given a notice to comply last December 29, and 15 days to correct the deficiencies noted. "After that, we would again conduct an inspection. If we found out that same deficiencies were not complied with, we would serve a notice to correct violation. It will come with a fine," Regencia said.

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Deficiencies were discovered on these five, out of 14, call center companies with 50 or more occupants that were inspected although the BFP learned that there are more than 40 BPO companies operating in Iloilo City, he said.

"We have already asked the City Hall business licensing office if we could have the name of these companies and their respective offices," Regencia said, adding that there were instances that some BPO companies have been listed based on the building they are renting.

Regencia said the inspection was not an offshoot to the Davao City mall fire that killed 38 persons of a BPO firm. He said: "We would continue our inspection even to other industries, buildings, and structures as mandated by the Fire Code of the Philippines."

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