DOLE Regional Office-CAR Director Henry John Jalbuena reported to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz that he has issued order for the stoppage of demolition activity being conducted at the former Burnham Hotel located at Calderon Street, Baguio City, on 26 September 2015, at around 11:00 a.m. in the morning.
“Findings of the investigation show there are sufficient grounds for the issuance of a work stoppage order at the former Burnham Hotel, where the accident actually happened. A notice has also been served to the parties to present their respective evidences that may warrant the lifting of stoppage order,” Baldoz said, citing Director Jalbuena’s report.
Result of the accident investigation revealed the following violations: (1) improper procedure on the conduct of demolition; (2) no sufficient knowledge of the management and workers of a safe conduct of demolition due to lack of orientation; and (3) a demolition permit was issued by the City Building and Architects Office (CBAO) without a DOLE approved construction safety and health program.
“The investigation team found that the condition itself of the worksite posed imminent danger to the life and safety of workers,” Baldoz said.
The incident occurred as the workers are setting up chain blocks in preparation for the collapse of the last wall when suddenly it fell down their direction. Due to the unpredicted direction as to where the walls would collapse, some workers ran to the wrong direction and were caught against the falling concrete. Heavy equipment was used to rescue the workers who were pinned by the wall.
The accident resulted to the death of one and injury to five workers, who were brought to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. As of reporting date, three of the injured were discharged.
“This is very unfortunate. I commiserate with the families of the deceased and the injured workers and assure them the DOLE will provide all necessary assistance and make the company accountable,” said Baldoz upon receiving the report.
The deceased worker was Bryan Bangsilan, 25 years old. The workers injured were identified as: William Flores, 25; Jordan Francisco, 19; Jonel Aquino, 19; Jimboy Paraiso, 21; and Robert Alviar, 49, suffered multiple physical injuries, and trauma.
Director Jalbuena said in his report that the activity is a result of the demolition of the former Burnham Hotel owned by Alfonso Lao, who has already complied with the work stoppage order.
As to compliance with general labor standards and occupational health and safety standards, the management of the company and the contractors and sub-contractor have been ordered to rectify the terms and conditions of employment of its workers to ensure that they are afforded the right to security of tenure as well as other conditions of work.
Baldoz, who has a standing order to all DOLE regional directors to priority the joint assessment of all construction worksites in the country to ensure compliance with general labor laws and occupational safety and health, expressed dismay that this totally-avoidable accident had happened.
“We could not just stand and look so helpless watching our workers become victims of workplace accidents. We have the means to prevent them and we must do so,” she finally said.