Cebu bunkhouse collapse: Contractor violated safety standards, says DOLE

Joworski Alipon, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2018 05:03 PM

Authorities respond to the collapse of a bunkhouse in Cebu City on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. ABS-CBN News

CEBU CITY - The employer of construction workers killed in the collapse of a bunkhouse here Tuesday violated safety and health standards, investigation by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) found.

At least 5 people were killed and dozens others were wounded when a 5-story bunkhouse on Archbishop Reyes Avenue collapsed.

J.E. Abraham Lee Construction and Development Inc violated some provisions of the general labor and occupational safety and health standards, findings of the labor department's arm in Central Visayas showed.

The labor department said the construction firm lacked an accredited safety practitioner, a DOLE-approved construction safety and health program, structural analysis of the temporary structure, and a suitable living accommodation for workers.

Labor inspectors also found that some workers were not paid for overtime work and night shift differential.

This is on top of the underpayment of at least 6 construction workers.

DOLE Central Visayas officer-in-charge Cyril Ticao said the released findings are just preliminary as the agency has yet to interview other workers.

Abraham Lee, president of the construction firm, met with labor officials on Wednesday but refused to release a statement on the matter.

Ticao said the agency has directed the contractor to give proper compensation to the underpaid workers within 10 days. 

Lee, according to Ticao, has also vowed to comply with corrective measures and explained that the firm's subcontractors may have been the ones who did not pay the workers properly.

Workers directly reporting to the contractor were receiving proper wages, said Ticao.

The construction firm had earlier assured financial assistance for affected workers and their families.