The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights is calling for justice for five workers who died in an accident at the power plant of SPC Malaya Power Corporation (SPC Malaya) in Pililia, Rizal on February 3.

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights executive director Daisy Arago said, “There should be justice for the victims of this accident as well as other similar fatal accidents that happened in the workplace.” She added that what happened in Pililia is another case of “utter disregard by companies for occupational health and safety which resulted to workers’ deaths and injuries as in the case of Eton, Keppel, and septic tank workers in Cubao in previous times.”

On February 3, Sunday, five workers identified as Eduardo Fidel, Gregorio Ricalde, Roberto Mesias, Jeffrey Sinag, and Antonio Manguerra died while 12 others were injured after a 70-foot scaffolding collapsed. The workers were reportedly fixing the smokestack of SPC Malaya when suddenly the scaffolding they were using fell down.

Arago also pointed out, “the government hails the boom in construction and its contribution to the economy. On the other side however we witness these fatal accidents where workers die and their families are left with no breadwinner and are thus more impoverished. Surely, that is something the Aquino government cannot be proud of.”

“Worse, justice is ever elusive to the victims and their families. At best, the company would only give the families a few thousands of pesos and that’s it.”

Arago also noted that while it seems positive that the Department of Labor and Employment has suspended the operations of the SPC Malaya to give way to investigations, there is no guarantee that justice will be rendered. “They also did that to Eton and Keppel but what happened? Were these companies held criminally liable?” Arago added.

CTUHR’s documentation reveals that at least 4 workers die every month due to unsafe working conditions since 2011. In 2010, 35 percent of victims of work-related accidents (both fatal and non-fatal) come from the construction industry.###