Dear Friends and Comrades,
We are calling for support from our international partners and friends for the call for Justice for the 11 Construction workers who fell in the worksite (from the 26th floor of the under construction Eton Residences high-rise condominium) last January 27, 2011. Ten (10) workers died on the spot, leaving one worker with serious physical injuries. Unfortunately, until now, the families have not received proper indemnification from the tragedy. The families have filed legal cases with regards to the violation of non-payment of minimum wages, employment of minor and reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide.
This June 23, we will be having a dialogue with Department of Justice Leila De Lima to ask for her support and urgent action on this case. We would like to ask for your support for the campaign and solicit signatures/ organization’s support for the call for justice. The list of organization who will support will also be presented to Sec. De Lima.
Thank you and hoping for your solidarity!
Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER)
Asian Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network (ATNC Monitoring Network)
JUSTICE FOR ETON 11!
Dear President Aquino,
We,the undersigned, are calling for Justice for the 11 Construction workers who fell in the worksite (from the 26th floor of the under construction Eton Residences high-rise condominium) last January 27, 2011. Ten (10) workers died on the spot, leaving one worker with serious physical injuries. Unfortunately, until now, the families have not received proper indemnification from the tragedy. The families have filed legal cases with regards to the violation of non-payment of minimum wages, employment of minor and reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide.
The tragic death of the 10 workers occurred due to the Eton Properties Philippines Inc. (EPPI) blatant disrespect of the country’s labor standards and the government’s failure to implement the inherent rights of the workers to safe, humane and favorable working environment.
Type of Violation (s):
-Death & Injury due to unsafe working condition
Total no. of Affected Worker: 10 dead, 1 seriously injured (all casual workers)
1.Benbon Cristobal, 24, male, married, 1 child
Sitio Tabing Ilog, Cogeo, Antipolo City, Rizal
2.Kevin Mabunga, 17, male, single
Sitio Tabing Ilog, Cogeo, Antipolo City, Rizal
3.Joel B. Avecilla, 25, male, married, 1 child + 1 expecting
Cluster D Extension Bagong Nayon 1, Antipolo City, Rizal
4.Celso Mabuting, 31, male, legally separated, 3 children
Barangay Hall Ipilan Tayabas, Quezon
5.Michael Tatlonghari, 21, male, single
Cluster D Extension, Bagong Nayon, Antipolo City
7..Vic Edward Piñon, 22, male, single
Magsaysay Ave., Bana Compound, Doña Faustina Subd., Quezon City
11.Ruel Perez, 23, male
Date occured: January 27, 2011
Cause according to the management: An unfortunate accident, death was not work-connected on the basis that there is gross negligence and policy violation on the part of employee who died.
Workers analysis: gross negligence of occupational safety regulations in the workplace, use of gondola without permit and operator
A total of ten (10) construction workers died on-the-spot while another one (1) was seriously injured after the gondola (a small construction elevator used to install glass windows) they are aboard snapped at the 28th floor and fell to the 7th floor of the building construction site owned by Eton Properties Philippines Incorporated (EPPI) at Greenbelt Paseo de Roxas in Makati City last January 27, 2011. Initial investigations revealed that the gondola plummeted because it is overloaded. Its maximum capacity of just two (2) to three (3) persons is excessively feeble to carry the weight of the 11 workers.
Witnesses accounted that the incident happened during the workers’ lunch break at around 11:45 a.m. Benbon Cristobal, Kevin Mabunga, Joel Avecilla, Celso Mabuting, Michael Tatlonghari, Rommel Perez, Vic Edward Piñon, William Bañez, Jaykie Legarda, Jeffrey Diocado and Ruel Perez rode the gondola on the 32nd floor to go down at the 6th floor where their dining area is located. Due to the workers’ less time for break, they use the gondola at the same time. The gondola immediately malfunctioned as it started to descend and the cables supporting it snapped on the 26th floor. Workers bodies fell to the safety wire umbrella on the 8th and 9th floor while the gondola landed on the 9th floor.
Witnesses further stated that Safety officers assigned at the 32nd floor doesn’t enforce safety rules and regulations especially from the 7th floor upwards.
The EPPI president and COO Danilo Ignacio declared that the workers’ death was an unfortunate accident. However, initial investigations of the Makati City government and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) proved that the EPPI and the construction firms (CE Construction, Arlo Aluminum, E.M. Piñon) they contracted to build the property committed gross violations of occupational safety and labour standards.
Among the occupational safety lapses seen are inadequate personal protective equipments (PPE), lack of permit to use a gondola lift, absence of a capable gondola lift operator. It is believed that more violations will be revealed when a thorough investigation will be done at the worksite.
In addition, various labor standards violations were discovered. Such violations include underpayment of minimum wages (they receive only P270 per day), inadequate overtime, rest day, and holiday premiums, non-payment of 13th month pay. Most importantly, workers do not have social security (SSS), health insurance (Philhealth) and other legally mandated benefits. They also do not enjoy their right to security of tenure since they are all contractual employees even though their employment tenure ranges from two (2) to four (4) years.
Government’s failure to protect the workers
The DOLE’s overly lenient way of enforcing the country’s labor standards and occupational regulations caused the incident. Since the start of the construction of Eton Greenbelt, DOLE didn’t conduct any inspection to check the company’s compliance to the labor laws of the country. It is after the death of the 10 workers when the DOLE inspected the said worksite. It also issued an operation suspension order but was immediately lifted after three weeks when EPPI allegedly completed all the necessary occupational safety reforms.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Standards that is in effect since 1989, a company must have a Construction Safety and Health Program that requires the composition of a Construction Safety and Health Committee, the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the assignment of Safety Personnel at the site at all times. In addition the DOLE issued Department Order No. 13 on 1998 which states that every employer shall, at his own expense, furnish his workers with protective equipment for eyes, face, hands and feet, lifeline, safety belt/harness, protective shields and barriers whenever necessary by reason of the hazardous work process or environment, chemical or radiological or other mechanical irritants or hazards capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical agent.”
Even after the issuance of the two orders, violations continue to happen as the DOLE failed to ensure the strict implementation of it.
The compliance of such standards became virtually irrelevant on January 7, 2004 when DOLE issued the Department order 57-04. According to the order, a company with at least 200 employees is already allowed to conduct self-assessment and inspection its compliance to the occupational safety standards are made voluntary. This signals the employers not to provide enough protection to the workers. As in the case of workers in Eton.
We request your intervention to:
1.Conduct a comprehensive and deep investigation of the incident
2.Make the EPPI its contractors and subcontractors liable for gross violations of labor rights
3.Provide enough indemnification to the families of the victims
4.Repeal the Department order 57-04 and push the government to ensure that all the labor standards and occupational safety regulations are implemented.
Hon. Loretta Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Hon. Leila de Lima
Department of Justice
Padre Faura Street Ermita, Manila
Republic of the Philippines 1000
Tel No. (632)523-84-81, (632)523-6826
Fax No. (632)526-7643,