Solon to DOLE: Ensure worker safety in the construction industry

A  LAWMAKER today expressed deep condolences to the families and relatives of the 11 construction workers who fell to their death after their scaffolding fell from the 28th floor of the Eton Residences being constructed in Makati.

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said the management of Eton Properties, real estate arm of the Lucio Tan group of companies and the Department of Labor and Employment must be held accountable for the tragedy. “We know Lucio Tan and how he treats his employees. We know DOLE and how it favors employers instead of workers.”

According to initial reports, the workers were on board a gondola and were installing glass panels when the accident happened. The fatalities rushed to the Ospital ng Makati were identified as Joel Abezilla, Celso Mabuting, Michael Tatlonghari, Kevin Mabunga, Borz Cristobal, Tisoy Perez, Vicente Piñion, William Bañez, Jaykie Legada and Diocado Jeffrey.

Makati Mayor Junjun Binay ordered a stop to the construction pending an investigation.

“It is certain that occupational health and safety standards and regulations were violated at the construction site. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Occupational Health and Safety Center (OHSC) must immediately step into the investigation and reprimand those who are at fault. The accident could have been prevented if labor standards were strictly followed at the construction site.”

Construction is one of the most hazardous industries wherein most of the workers are hired based on the exploitative ‘kabo’ and ‘pakyaw’ scheme. ‘Kabo’ system is prohibited under the Labor Code.

The ill-fated construction workers reportedly earn only P260 per day, far from the P402 government mandated daily minimum wage in the National Capital Region. “If Eton can violate the minimum wage law, then it is also likely that they have violated other labor standards and labor rights.”

“This should serve as a wake-up call to DOLE to do its job in protecting workers and ensuring workers’ safety in the construction industry,” the Anakpawis solon added.

“DOLE’s policy of self-assessment and voluntary inspection of labor standard compliance as authorized by Department Order 57-04 virtually allowed employers to violate labor standards right under the noses of labor officials. This order must be revoked immediately,” Mariano said.


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