No safety officer, first aid responders during budget hotel collapse—DOLE

/ 03:02 PM September 25, 2019
sogo budget hotel collapse

A Sogo hotel branch in Malate, Manila collapsed on Monday morning. Courtesy of Manila Public Information Office

MANILA, Philippines — There were no safety officers or first-aid respondents on site when a portion of a Sogo hotel branch under demolition in Manila collapsed, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported Wednesday.

DOLE Assistant Secretary Benjo Santos Benavidez said the labor department sent a labor inspector to investigate following the incident who found that there were no safety officer or first-aid responders on site when the building collapsed.


Benavidez explained that the demolition job had approval for occupational safety and health measures from DOLE-National Capital Region, which required the contractors to have safety officers or first aid responders on site.

However, he said “we found out that there was no trained safety officer at wala pong certified first-aider at the time of the incident. ‘Yung requirement ng occupational safety and health personnel, requirement ito from the start of the construction or demolition, up to the end of the activities.”


(We found out that there was no trained safety officer and no certified first-aid responder at the time of the incident. The requirement for the presence of an occupational safety and health personnel, this is a requirement from the start of the construction or demolition up to the end of the activities.)

No application for extension

The approval for occupational safety and health measures permit for the demolition job was only from July 22 to September 22, a two-month long demolition period.

But the incident happened on September 23.

Benavidez said they should have been notified of the extension of the demolition work.

“Pero kahit sana nag-expire na yung approval namin, it does not mean na ititigil na nila yung observance or compliance to safety and health standards. Dapat tuloy-tuloy pa rin,” Benavidez said, adding that is another violation.

(But even though our approval expired, it does not mean their observance or compliance to safety and health standards also stop. It should have continued.)


Stoppage order

Since the incident, Benavidez said a work stoppage order has been released to stop any demolition activities at the site.

A hearing is also set on Thursday to allow the contractor, Fabellon Construction and Development Corporation, as well as the principal or owner, Golden Breeze Realty Inc., to explain their side on the findings of the labor inspectors.

“We are still looking into the possible liabilities of the contractors, as well as the principal, the owner of site,” Benavidez said.

Benavidez said that under the law, “liability is solidary,” thus both the contractors and principal could be held liable for hospitalisation costs and other damages of those affected by the collapse.

The budget hotel collapsed on Monday, which led to the death of two workers who were later pulled from the rubble.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo has said that President Rodrigo Duterte sought for a “through investigation” from concerned authorities following the incident. /je

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