5 die, 6 hurt as wall collapses

04/08/2010 - CEBU, Philippines - Five construction workers were killed while six others were injured when the firewall of a department store building they were building collapsed in barangay Tisa, Cebu City shortly past midnight yesterday.

The victims were workers of CYC Construction Company, the firm building the Gaisano Capital branch in the area.

The victims were identified as Doenny Delan, 30 and his brother Christian, 27; Teodulfo Detumal, of legal age; Lyndon Melendrez, 18; and Argie Ceniza, 27.

Injured were Jerome Siose, 19; Ricardo Rixon Villegas, 27; Joy Manseras, 36; Arnel Pacible, 23; Roel Pasaje, 26; and Noel Lucero, 23.

All of the victims are residents of different barangays in Carmen, Cebu.

They worked as either masons or laborers.

According to police investigators, the victims were doing overtime work when the incident happened.

Those who were killed and injured were working at the right side portion of the building when the firewall and the roof beam suddenly collapsed.

Four of the victims died on the spot and those injured were rushed to the Cebu City Medical Center.

Ceniza, the fifth fatality, was declared dead at the CCMC shortly after he was brought to the hospital.

Aside from the workers, who were killed and injured, a portion of the house owned by Christian Java as well as their fence was damaged.

A Daihatsu mini-van owned by Robert Cebes, who lives in a nearby apartment, was also damaged.

Some of the debris also fell on a transformer owned by VECO which caused a brief power outage in the nearby areas.

The bodies of the fatalities were brought to the Saint Francis Funeral Homes for post mortem examination.

SPO1 Jay Yballe, Chief Investigator of the Cebu City Police Office-Homicide Section, said they will be asking the assistance of the Office of the Building Official to determine, whose negligence caused the accident.

Yballe said they have already sent an invitation letter to Charlie Yu Chiu, owner of the construction firm, to appear before the Homicide Section to help shed light on the incident.

PO2 Lou Pagara said the victims were with four other workers when the debris fell on them.

Pagara said that a brother of the two siblings, who were killed, was among the four people who were lucky to survive unscathed.

Dave Delan, 28, was working at the top of the building and went down to pick up a tool that he dropped when the accident happened.

Rodel Cabanata said that he and his fellow workers had already noticed cracks on the wall.

He was taking a brief break for a snack when the wall collapsed.

Adonis Abellanosa also said that he noticed the previous night that the firewall was somewhat leaning.

The contractor is reportedly rushing the work to meet the scheduled opening of the department store on May 1.

City Councilor Gerry Carillo recommended for the immediate cancellation of the building permit.

DOLE Probe

An official from the Department of Labor and Employment, who was sought for comment, said that there is already an ongoing investigation to determine the liabilities of the building owner and the contractor.

The incident has also brought out allegations that the workers were receiving wages that are way below the minimum wage of P267 per day for Cebu.

DOLE-7 Regional Director Elias Cayanong said that they are digging deeper to the case and results of which will be released today or early next week.

Cayanong said that one of the possible cases that could be filed against the management or the contractor is negligence of duty.

Assurance And Assistance

The contractor has however already assured the families of the victims that P100,000 will be given for each of the fatalities. The hospitalization bills will also be shouldered by the firm.

The company also assured City Hall officials that they will comply with the order for them to immediately clean the place and make the road passable to vehicles.

Engr. Josefa Ylanan of the Office of the Building Official yesterday called up a meeting with the building owner and construction firm’s representatives to discuss about the incident (Freeman)

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