A tower crane in Makati, central Manila, has collapsed, injuring at least two individuals. The accident happened early morning on Thursday 26 May, while the crane was being set up. It damaged electric posts, high tension wires and a number of vehicles in the area at the time, and injured a taxi driver and a passing bicycle rider. The construction firm, AM Oreta Construction, has agreed to shoulder all hospital bills and medical expenses.
After the accident occurred, the National Union of Building and Construction Workers’ Union demanded that the Department of Labour and Employment’s Occupational Safety and Health Centre allow for a joint investigation into what took place. No construction workers were involved in the incident itself. Pressure from NUBCW and other organizations led to the Department issuing a cease and desist order to prevent AM Oreta Construction from operating while the investigation begins.
NUBCW organizer Santiago Nolla noted that the swift action taken by the Department was heartening. “It is good to see the Department taking a more proactive on occupational safety and health issues. However what’s is important for us is to ensure that workers lie at the heart of the solution, both in terms of the investigation process and the culture change that needs to follow.
“We want to see a thorough investigation where workers have a voice, and contractors and subcontractors share joint liability. The precise reasons for this collapse remain unknown. However we will fight to ensure that those who have broken the law are penalized, and that the victims and their families are granted justice.”
“The construction industry is a dangerous industry for workers”, added Nolla, “but it doesn’t have to be. Workers make all the difference.”