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By Dona Z. Pazz­ibugan

La­bor Sec­re­tary Sil­vestre Bello III on Mon­day or­dered EEI Corp., the con­trac­tor of the Sky­way ex­ten­sion project, to halt all con­struc­tion work un­til fur­ther no­tice to give way to a safety in­spec­tion fol­low­ing Satur­day’s ac­ci­dent that left one mo­torist dead and six oth­ers in­jured.

Ini­tially, the work stop­page or­der is­sued by the Depart­ment of La­bor and Em­ploy­ment’s Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion (Dole-NCR) of­fice cov­ered only the Muntinlupa por­tion of the project where the ac­ci­dent hap­pened.

Bello, how­ever, di­rected that the en­tire project be halted, prompt­ing Dole-NCR Direc­tor Sarah Mi­ra­sol to is­sue a new or­der to stop the con­struc­tion not only in the af­fected area but in the en­tire Sky­way ex­ten­sion project, Su­cat-Ala­bang Viaduct.

She called the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the con­trac­tor and sub­con­trac­tors to a hear­ing at 10 a.m. on Tues­day, at the Dole field of­fice in Las Piñas City to de­ter­mine whether the work stop­page or­der should be lifted.

Another la­bor of­fi­cial said the project owner and con­trac­tor were li­able for the ac­ci­dent since they failed to “iden­tify haz­ards.”

Dole Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety and Health Cen­ter Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Noel Bi­nag said in an on­line brief­ing that be­fore any con­struc­tion, the project owner and con­trac­tor should hold meet­ings to iden­tify po­ten­tial haz­ards in the work­place, and make the nec­es­sary ad­just­ment and con­trols.

He noted that there was no crowd con­trol dur­ing the op­er­a­tion of the crane even though it was be­ing done on a public road. There were also no traf­fic en­forcers or signs telling mo­torists or pedes­tri­ans not to pass through the area, he added.

In a meet­ing on Mon­day at City Hall, Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi told Sky­way pro­po­nent San Miguel Corp. and con­trac­tor EEI Corp. to sub­mit a com­pre­hen­sive re­port ex­plain­ing the cause of the col­lapse of a steel girder, which fell on sev­eral ve­hi­cles on East Ser­vice Road.

“You must shape up and en­sure stricter ob­ser­vance of oc­cu­pa­tional safety and safe op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures es­pe­cially in high-risk ar­eas with heavy traf­fic,” he warned.

Fresnedi urged them to take re­spon­si­bil­ity and ex­tend as­sis­tance to the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims.

The city gov­ern­ment learned that the con­struc­tion work on East Ser­vice Road in Barangay Cu­pang, in par­tic­u­lar the in­stal­la­tion of the steel gird­ers on Satur­day, had not been prop­erly co­or­di­nated with the Muntinlupa Traf­fic Man­age­ment Bureau.

A po­lice re­port said a crane op­er­ated by En­rico Gre­go­rio, 41, lost “its bal­ance due to [the] un­even pave­ment and its boom hit the steel girder.”

The girder then fell on seven mo­tor ve­hi­cles that were pass­ing by. The lone ca­su­alty, Edi­son Paqui­bot, was pro­nounced dead on ar­rival at Ala­bang Med­i­cal Clinic.

Paqui­bot’s fam­ily has vowed to press charges against the com­pa­nies in­volved. The vic­tim, 42, left be­hind a 4-yearold child.

His wife, Mar­ilou, urged au­thor­i­ties to look into the fault of those in­volved in the con­struc­tion site.

Gre­go­rio was de­tained at the city po­lice sta­tion on charges of homi­cide, mul­ti­ple phys­i­cal in­juries and dam­age to prop­erty.

With reports from Leila B. Salaverria and Dexter Cabalza

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