Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Senator: Hanjin responsible for bus accident

Senator: Hanjin responsible for bus accident that left 19 workers hurt
A senator on Tuesday said Hanjin Heavy Industries, Inc. should be held responsible for the accident involving one of its shuttle buses that fell off a 50-foot ravine in Subic, Zambales.

In an interview on QTV’s Balitanghali, Sen. Pilar Juliana "Pia" Cayetano said even if Hanjin did not operate the bus ferrying the workers to the facility, it cannot "hide behind the argument" that WPH (Wealth, Prosperity, Humanity) - which was identified as the operator of the shuttle bus - was only its subcontractor.

"May prinsipyo naman sa batas na as the employer, meron ka ring responsibilidad sa klase ng mga subcontractors na kinukuha mo. Eh kung paulit-ulit na nagkakamali, o isisinasalang sa panganib ang mga manggagawa mo, eh responsibilidad mo pa rin yun," Cayetano said.

[There is a legal principle that employers are responsible for the kind of subcontractors they hire. If these subcontractors repeatedly expose their workers to danger, the firm can still be held culpable.]

At least 19 workers - two of whom remain in critical condition – were reported hurt in the accident that occurred about 7 a.m. Tuesday along Hanjin Road at Sitio Agusuhin, Brgy. Cawag in Subic.

The mishap is the latest addition to the string of accidents involving Filipino Hanjin workers.

Cayetano earlier said the death toll in the Korean firm’s shipyard at the Subic Freeport has reportedly reached 19 based on its official records since 2006.

But she also noted earlier that an unofficial account by a labor-support group in Subic had placed a bigger death toll at 24, including stay-in workers who reportedly died from malaria.

She then said the Senate labor committee under Senate President Pro Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada may include the road mishap in its probe on Hanjin accidents. - Sophia Dedace, GMANews.TV

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