Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, January 26, 2009

DOLE sends team to Subic to probe Hanjin deaths

MANILA, Philippines - Alarmed over the recent spate of accidental deaths at the shipbuilding facility of Korean firm Hanjin in Subic, the Labor department has decided to start an investigation on the matter.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said he has instructed the Labor department regional office in Central Luzon to send a team to the site and investigate the deaths.

"(Dati) pinamahala natin sa SBMA. Kaya medyo nakikialam na kami, pinapapasok namin ang team natin doon sa Hanjin [Before, we left it to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority to handle the matter. But now we have to intervene. I have sent a team there to Hanjin]," Roque said in
an interview on dwIZ radio.

He said that before, it was not Hanjin but the subcontractors that were found negligent in ensuring the safety of workers at the facility.

Roque also noted the Labor department conducted a seminar on safety there sometime last year.

Last weekend, Sen. Pilar Juliana Cayetano voiced exasperation over what she called government inaction on the deaths of Filipino workers at the shipyard of Hanjin Heavy Industries.

Cayetano also hinted at bringing the matter to the International Labor Organization if the Senate allows itself to be "bullied" by Korea's ambassador.

She also scored the indifference being shown so far by the SBMA and the DOLE toward the rising death toll at the shipyard.

Last Friday, laborer Raldon del Rosario died after an 800-kilogram metal door being installed at the shipyard's "Assembly Part 3" section fell on him.

Another worker, Camalio Buchie, 24, reportedly suffered a leg injury during the incident.

Del Rosario is reportedly the 18th fatality among workers from traffic and work-related accidents at the job site since 2006, according to Hanjin's official count.

But People's Task Force Hanjin has recorded over 40 deaths among the workers, including those who have died from malaria.

- GMANews.TV

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