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