10 workers killed after falling off Makati building

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2011 12:49 PM | Updated as of Jan 28 2011 01:15 AM

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Ten construction workers were killed and one injured after falling off a building in Makati City Thursday, officials said.

Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay, Jr. said the accident occurred at the Eton Tower located at the corner of Paseo de Roxas and Gallardo streets in Makati City.

"I talked to the foreman and he said there's a mesh supporting the scaffolding at doon naipon 'yung mga tao," he said in an interview on ANC.

A separate report from Makati police chief Senior Superintendent Froilan Bonifacio said the workers fell off the 32nd floor of the building after the platform they were using gave way.

"What we received is they were working outside the building at the 32nd floor and they fell to the 7th floor," he told radio dzMM.

In a statement, Eton spokesperson Erwin de Pedro said the workers fell from a suspended "gondola" – a basket-like platform used for installing glass windows. The workers are employees of ARLO Aluminum, a glass contractor/installer of the condominium project.

Based on witnesses' accounts, de Pedro said the workers rode the gondola instead of taking the stairs during their break time.

The platform can only carry 2 to 3 workers, but at least 10 took the gondola on their way to their lunch break, field reports said.

De Pedro said the cable holding the gondola could have snapped.

“Eton, its contractors and construction management consultant are cooperating with police authorities and the city engineer’s office as they investigate the cause of this accident. In the meantime, the company’s priority is to ensure that the victims’ families are informed and extended needed assistance by the contractor,” de Pedro said.

He said Eton places premium on safety. Due to the incident, however, it will review its contractors’ compliance with safety regulations.

Binay said he has ordered a stop to the construction until Eton Properties can ensure the safety of its construction workers.

De Pedro said:  “Our hearts go out to the victims’ families. Eton Properties would like to assure the public that the company is doing all it can to ensure that Eton and its contractor extend all necessary assistance to the victims.” - With reports from Dexter Ganibe and Noel Alamar, radio dzMM