A senior vice chairman of the House Committee on National Defense and Security on Monday asked the management of Resorts World Manila (RWM) if they have already secured a valid Fire Safety Inspection Certificate (FSIC) from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) following the reopening of RWM’s gaming area last week.
PDP-Laban Rep. Ruffy Biazon of Muntinlupa City underscored the importance of the fire permit after 37 people died of suffocation following the June 2 RWM incident.
“The victims died of smoke inhalation. So, one of the issues that we will look into is that the Resorts World did not have any valid fire-safety inspection certificate. Now that Resorts World Manila resumed its casino operations, we want to know if they have secured the said permit,” Biazon said.
The FSIC is required prior to the issuance of occupancy permit as it signifies that the owner or administrator has complied with the standard requirements recommended by the Fire-Safety Inspector and/or Fire-Safety Plan Reviewer of the establishment.
During the recent House probe on the RWM tragedy, Biazon recalled it was revealed that RWM refused to be inspected by the BFP because their place is under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), which purportedly has jurisdiction in the issuance of the said permit because RWM is one of its regulated establishments.
However, Biazon said Peza admitted that casinos are not covered by their supposed authority to issue FSIC under the law that created Peza and RWM has not been given the said certificate.
Biazon said Peza’s authority to issue such permit was already repealed by the new Fire Code of the Philippines, which empowered the BFP to administer the issuance of fire-safety permits.
“It turned out they don’t have FSIC because they refused to be inspected by the Bureau of Fire and Protection,” he said.
The BFP has failed to immediately enter the premises of RWM during the fire incident, due to the restriction imposed by Peza.
Biazon also asked the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) if it will allow casinos to operate despite the absence of said permit.
“That’s why we raised the point…will Pagcor still allow casinos under Peza to operate even if they don’t have a Fire-Safety Inspection Certificate?” he asked.