Solon urges House oversight committee on labor and employment to probe work-related accident in SPC Power Plant

ANAKPAWIS Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano urged the Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment (COCLE) to probe the latest work-related accident that killed at least five construction workers in Pililia, Rizal, Sunday afternoon.

Among the fatalities were Eduardo Fidel, Gregorio Ricalde, Jeffrey Sinag, Antonio Manguerra, and Roberto Mesias. The victims were instantly killed while several others were injured after the scaffolding they were standing on collapsed from a height of 70 feet at the SPC Malaya Power Plant.

The victims are employees of East West Manpower Corporation, a placement agency of contractual workers.

Based on reports, twelve other workers were also wounded in the incident. The workers were repairing a smokestack of the power plant when the scaffolding caved in.

“We hope COCLE would look into this latest incident and recommend measures to prevent work-related accidents as well as punishment of employers who are not abiding occupational health and safety standards,” said Mariano, a member of COCLE chaired by Senator Jinggoy Estrada. “It is under COCLE’s mandate to check the implementation and compliance of labor standards.”

The first and last time that COCLE convened this 15th Congress was in August 2011.

According to the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD), in 2011, 126 workers died and 120 were injured in various work-related accidents across the country. Most cases were recorded in the construction, mining and transportation industries.

“Cases of work-related accidents that led to the death and injury of workers continue because of DOLE’s lenient occupational health and safety policies,” said Mariano.

“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.

“Construction is one of the most hazardous industries wherein most of the workers are hired on contractual basis.”

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