No safety program in over 10 MDC construction sites – DOLE
MANILA, Philippines – Over 10 Metro Manila projects of known construction firm Makati Development Corporation (MDC) failed to secure a state-approved Construction Safety and Health Program (CHSP), an initial state probe found.
"Workers die in accidents because employers tend to be lax in their compliance," Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz lamented Friday, February 6, expressing shock given what she called MDC's "reputable" status in the construction sector.
The 4-decade-old firm became the subject of investigation after the partial collapse of an Ayala Land Premier building project in Taguig City, which MDC was contracted to build.
The accident claimed two lives and injured 11 others, the second deadliest construction mishap to be reported in 2015.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) approved on January 24, 2014 the Taguig construction site's CHSP, a set of rules indicating a project's conformity with occupational health and safety standards.
However, initial probe by DOLE showed only MDC's 7-story medium-rise building project in Pasig City has an approved CHSP to ensure protective safeguards for workers. The rest of its 16 other ongoing projects in the region do not.
A DOLE order requires an approved CHSP and corresponding personnel for it, which must be indicated as an item in a project's construction costs.
MDC prides itself as being "the premier Filipino Construction Company that transformed Makati into a world-class financial and commercial district and changed the Philippine landscape at par with the world’s best."
The two dead and 11 injured workers crushed by debris from the Taguig site were hired by MDC's sub-contractor Fastem Construction Inc, contracted to reinforce steel works and place concrete, among others.
The DOLE probe found that construction workers Renan dela Cruz and Ruben Racraquin died serving as cement pouring guards in the building’s lower ground floor.
Based in Rizal province, Fastem was given authority by the Philippine Contractors’ Accreditation Board (PCAB) to continue work for the Taguig building 5 months after its PCAB license expired on June 30, 2014.
A unit of Ayala Land, Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC) is the developer of the real estate property.
While the backbreaking labor is done by workers of contracted construction firms, a real estate developer is required to make sure contractors and subcontractors comply with labor rules.
Under labor rules, the principal, contractor, and subcontractor will be jointly penalized for violations of occupational health and safety standards (OSP) in a construction site.
Gross violation of these standards is not a crime in the Philippines, something which labor groups seek to reverse. (READ: DOLE stresses construction safety after BGC building mishap)
Baldoz had earlier urged Congress to enact a law with stiff penalties for violators of the country’s occupational health and safety rules.
Assistance to victims, families
Both MDC and Fastem had reported to DOLE help extended to the victims and their families, including funeral expenses, a P10,000 transportation allowance to Manila for each family, and accommodation expenses in the city.
A hospital bill amounting to P113,108.14 was likewise paid for the medical expenses of the injured.
DOLE-Metro Manila Director Alex Avila said both firms assured victims they will extend the necessary financial assistance. – Rappler.com