Solon: ‘Mall fire due to lax labor law’ | Inquirer News
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Solon: ‘Mall fire due to lax labor law’

/ 01:54 AM December 31, 2017

DAVAO BLAZE Firefighters battle the blaze that engulfed the four-story NCCC Mall in the commercial center of Matina District in Davao City—BARRY OHAYLAN

DAVAO CITY — The death of 38 people from the fire that gutted the NCCC Mall here on Dec. 23 can largely be blamed on “loose labor compliance,” a militant solon said on Saturday.

“This should not happened if strict compliance to labor requirements have been observed,” Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao told the Inquirer.

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He said it was obvious that permits had been issued to NCCC Mall even if it lacked adequate evacuation measures in case of an emergency and even if it did not provide workers and others with safe working environment.

Mayor Sara Duterte earlier shot down insinuations that permits had been issued to NCCC even if it was not safety compliant.

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In the case of the city, she said business permits would only be issued if an establishment had complied with all the necessary requirements set by the government—including being fire safety compliant.

The NCCC Mall management also denied it was complacent or had violated safety rules.

But survivors spoke of lack of access to fire exits, and failing fire alarm and sprinkler systems.

“We categorically deny the allegations that we do not have enough fire exits, extinguishers, sprinklers and designated fire escapes,” said Thea Padua, NCCC Mall spokesperson.

Padua said NCCC Mall had also been “fully compliant with the labor standards.”

“Companies like (Survey Sampling International) and NCCC Mall management clearly exploited the lenient labor law with regards to the fire and safety hazard compliance to acquire permit to operate its respective business,” Casilao said.

“(T)he NCCC fire incident should have been avoided if the Senate passed House Bill No. 64 or the Occupational Safety Hazard. The proposed bill promotes a nationwide mandatory inspection of business establishments,” Casilao said. —Allan Nawal

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TAGS: Ariel Casilao, NCCC mall fire, Sara Duterte
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