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Mining, construction among deadliest sectors for Filipino workers – Safety NGO

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A Manila-based health and safety organization on Sunday listed the local construction and mining sectors as among the deadliest industries for Filipino workers as it also sought the Aquino administration’s accountability over rising work-related accidents in the country.

To mark this year’s Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28 and Labor Day on May 1, the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD) published a list of top 5 accident-prone sectors where most work-related accidents happened under President Benigno Aquino III’s administration.

“This compilation seeks to remind the government of its accountability for failing to protect the Filipino workers’ and public’s health and safety in general,” said Noel Colina, IOHSAD Executive Director.

The list of the sectors where major accidents happened from 2010 up to the present is based on the number of deaths and impact on the general public.

When PNoy visited Semirara Island after the fateful landslide last 2013, P-Noy said that “Any loss of life is always a concern for me, especially any Filipino life.” “Looking at the increasing number of workers who lost their lives due to unsafe working conditions, citizens becoming victims of unsafe roads, and thousands of Filipinos dying because of the government’s unpreparedness during disasters, we question P-Noy’s sincerity and concern for the lives of Filipinos,” added Colina.

“This list is also a reminder to President Aquino that workers and their families are already sacrificing much – from low wages, insecure jobs, violation of the right to unionize and unsafe working conditions. Genuine concern goes beyond words or even an apology,”Colina said.

“The recent apology and resignation of South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Hong-Won over his government’ inability to prevent the ferry accident that left 300 people dead is a humble act that genuine leaders should emulate,” Colina said.

Below is IOHSAD’s compilation of the deadliest sectors for workers:

The image of 10 construction workers hanging dead on an unfinished building continues to haunt P-Noy’s administration. Investigation results show that the gondola that contained workers and crashed from the 28th floor didn’t have a permit to operate. Three years after that fateful day, ETON Residences, the posh condominium owned by Lucio Tan is now operating. Nobody was made accountable for that tragic accident. The families of the victims are still denied of justice.

This destructive industry is detrimental to both the environment and miners and their families. Last year, five miners in an open-pit mine were buried alive after a landslide occurred in Semirara, Antique, the island which is the country’s biggest coal producer.
The year 2012 recorded the most number of deaths in the mining industry. A total of 44 miners died because of unsafe conditions and deadly landslides in mining areas. At the start of the year, a killer landslide occurred in Pantukan, Compostela Valley, claiming 25 lives and many others left unaccounted for. In December, typhoon Pablo ravaged the mining towns of Compostela Valley and buried hundreds of residents including small-scale miners.

The deadly fire in a department store in Butuan City took the lives of 17 workers, mostly women including a five-month pregnant woman. They were trapped inside the burning building because they were locked from the outside by their employer and accessible fire exits were absent.

Road accidents claim the lives of ordinary commuters, most of whom are workers who are going to work or to provinces for holiday breaks.

Early this year, a deadly bus accident in Bontoc, Mountain Province left 14 people dead, including young cultural workers and artists. Their families are crying for justice until now.

In 2013, two major road accidents abruptly claimed 42 lives. The early morning accident occurred in Skyway at the South Luzon Express Road. The buss fell off the elevated part of the skyway, leaving 20 people dead. Meanwhile the road accident in Atimonan, Quezon left 22 people dead.

The most dreadful road accident during PNoy’s term happened in August 2010 when a passenger bus fell into a ravine in Naguillan Road, Benguet Province. The death toll reached 42, making this one of the worst road accidents in recent history.

Almost four years into his presidency, P-Noy has not shown genuine concern for workers’ health and safety. This is predictable given the non-mention of occupational health and safety in his 22-point labor agenda when he stepped into office in 2010.

P-Noy’s government also continues to ignore workers’ demand to scrap Department of Labor and Employment Order No. 57-04 that allows employers to assess their own compliance of health and safety standards. Not a single company involved in work-related accidents during P-Noy’s term was jailed or tried in criminal court.