MANILA An official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has called for a probe on the cause of the fire that gutted the Manila Pavillion Hotel.
Undersecretary Jacinto Paras said the probe will determine if there were violations of labor laws, including occupational safety in the workplace by the owners and operators of the establishment.
The employer is mandated by law to maintain occupational safety to its workplace and if the fire was due to unsafe and unhealthy workplace the DOLE is supposed to file the proper charges if warranted, he said.
Paras reported that the Senate and the House of Representatives are in the bicameral to approve a bill that would address employers' obligation to ensure that all workplaces are safe and healthy for their workers.
The bill provides certain obligations to employers that would see to it that they are able to make available a safe and healthy place for their employees to work, he said.
With the passage of this bill, workers will now be much safer in the workplace, the DOLE official added.
Meanwhile, a workers' group reiterated its call for a joint labor and fire safety audit of malls and hotels nationwide.
It's always the workers lives who always pay the price for non-compliance of business owners and employers to the occupational safety and health standards. Workers' are always at risks to work hazards such fire due to poor government enforcement of workplace safety and health rules and regulations, said Michael Mendoza, national president of ALU-TUCP-Nagkaisa in a statement.
To protect workers and mall-goers from such incidents, we are urging government to create a joint safety audit of all high-rise buildings, malls and hotels nationwide. If we do not require business owners to comply with workplace and building safety regulations, the more we expose employees and ordinary civilians to death-causing firetraps, he added.
At least five people were confirmed dead while over 20 others were injured when a fire razed the hotel on Sunday morning.
Source: Philippine News Agency