An estimated 72 workers died in a fire at a footwear factory in the Valenzuela district of Manila on May 14. Owned by a local company, Kentex Manufacturing Corporation, the plant was making cheap sandals, beach shoes and slippers for the local market in the Philippines. Government officials attributed the fire to chemicals that were exposed to a welding operation. They said the factory had passed a health and safety inspection last September. They admitted, however, that many businesses in the Philippines were engaged in illegal labor practices. Local reports indicate that the workers at the plant were exposed to foul-smelling chemicals 12 hours per da y and seven days a week, earning the equivalent of $10.90 per day.