After 2 months, no progress in Davao mall fire probes
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Questions about who would be held liable for the death of dozens of workers trapped in a Davao City mall fire in December 2017 remain unanswered as an interagency group formed to lead the probe have not come up with conclusions yet.
This was revealed Wednesday, February 28, by Davao City Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Director Senior Superintendent Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu.
“According to the latest information, the Secretary wanted them to submit the final report but they requested for an extension kasi baka hindi pa talaga nila matapos (because they might not have finished yet),” Kwan Tiu told Rappler in an interview.
Two days after the NCCC Mall fire on December 23, 2017, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered a criminal investigation in the hope the government could set an example that there would be no repetition to tragedies such as this.
Soon after, the Interagency Anti-Arson Task Force was created. It is made up of members of the BFP, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group XI.
In January, the task force’s spokesperson and deputy team leader Fire Superintendent Jerry Candido said the report on the December 23 fire was hoped to come out in the first week of February.
In a Mindanews report, Candido said they were gathering documents and authenticating others as they readied criminal, civil, and administrative charges.
The Department of Labor (DOLE) launched its own investigation as it approved some P30 million worth of assistance for the family of the workers who died in the fire.
Apart from DOLE, the operator of NCCC Mall also conducted a separate independent probe and brought in two experts from the US.
All of these investigations have not yet come out with results.
Since investigations began, several BFP officials were sacked from their posts. According to Candido, they could also be held liable for the deadly incident. – Rappler.com