DOLE, engineers check safety of buildings in Regions 11, 12

SAFETY OF WORK PLACES. Officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) discuss with Davao reporters the conduct of safety assessment of work places in Regions 11 and 12 as a result of the series of strong earthquakes that hit Mindanao on Oct. 16, 29 and 31. Buildings found unsafe for continued use like malls, hotels, hospitals and business process outsourcing (BPO) /contact centers will immediately be recommended for evacuation, closure and condemnation to Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III. From left, Executive Director Noel Binag of DOLE Occupational Safety and Health Center, DOLE Region 11 Director Raymundo Agravante, DOLE Region 12 Director Sisinio Cano and an unidentified engineer belonging to the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines. Also involved in the joint project are structural engineers of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers. AM

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in collaboration with professional groups of civil and electrical engineers is assessing the structural integrity of hundreds of malls and other buildings in Regions 11 and 12 to determine their safety as work places.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III met in Davao City Sunday with DOLE regional officials led by Director Raymundo Agravante of Region 11 and Director Sisinio Cano of Region 12 and chapter officers of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers and Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines to discuss the rules of engagements in assessing the safety and worthiness of the buildings as work places. The officials were joined by Noel Binag, executive director of the DOLE Occupational Safety and Health Center.

The DOLE-engineering joint teams will fan out starting today to the cities of Davao, Koronadal, Digos, Kidapawan and towns of the two regions adversely affected by the series of strong earthquakes in Mindanao last week and the week before.

“Once we find the structural safety of these work places compromised, we will immediately recommend their evacuation and closure to Secretary Bello, “ Director Agravante of Region 11 told reporters last Sunday noon.

Targeted for immediate inspection by the DOLE teams are malls, numerous contact centers and other buildings used as factories of various products in Davao and other cities in the two regions, according to Director Cano of Region 12.

In Davao City alone, there are more than 80 business outsourcing companies located in a dozen IT parks and call centers with close to 60,000 workers, according to lawyer Samuel Matunog, president of ICT-Davao.

Matunog said these business process outsourcing (BPO)/knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) companies contribute annually some P10.7 billion to Davao’s economy. AMA