After deadly collapse, DOLE stops demolition of Hotel Sogo in Manila

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued a work stoppage order against a Hotel Sogo branch in Malate, Manila, which prematurely collapsed as it was undergoing demolition last Monday, September 23.

Labor Assistant Secretary Benjo Benavidez on Wednesday, September 25, told reporters the order was addressed to Golden Breeze Realty Incorporated, which owns the Hotel Sogo branch, and construction company Fabellon Construction and Development Corporation.

The two firms "and those involved subcontractors, if any, are directed immediately to stop all demolition activities in the said establishment," states the DOLE order signed by DOLE National Capital Region (NCR) Director Sarah Mirasol.

The collapse of the hotel killed two construction workers and injured one other. According to the list released by Barangay 701, where the budget hotel is located, 22 construction workers had been handling the demolition.

LOOK: DOLE issues work stoppage order for the demolition site of a SOGO hotel branch in Manila which collapsed on September 23, 2019 @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/8MCoPxzz89 — Sofia Tomacruz (@sofiatomacruz) September 25, 2019

 

What violations were found? According to Benavidez, the site had an approved occupational safety and health program permit issued by DOLE NCR last July 4. The permit covered work from July 22 to September 22.

The collapse, however, happened on September 23 – a day after the permit expired. Benavidez said the companies did not apply for an extension, which may be considered a violation under DOLE's policies.

Meanwhile, a site visit by a DOLE labor inspector also showed that no trained safety officer and certified first aid provider were on-site when the collapse happened. This is a violation of DOLE's occupational safety and health program, which requires safety officers to be present on-site from the start of a project until it is completed.

What happens next? Benavidez said representatives of the companies involved have been called to DOLE for a hearing on the incident on Thursday, September 26.

"A hearing has been set tomorrow for parties to be given the opportunity to explain their side with respect to the findings of our labor inspector," he said, adding that the firms may be fined P100,000 for each violation committed.

Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said he will order the Manila City Engineer's Office to launch a probe into the collapse. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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