Sunday August 19, 2018

Probe set for Sandico collapse

BAGUIO. Rescuers from 911 On Call, Baguio Fire Department, construction workers and other volunteers retrieve the body of two people caught under the mudslide at Sandico St., Salud Mitra barangay Wednesday afternoon. The victims were identified as Engr. Patrick Lachica and Hannah Jean Aragon. (Milo Brioso)

In the midst of confusion over a condominium tragedy in Sandico Street, probe by the local council is in order.

Councilor Edgar Avila, chair for urban planning, said summons will be sent to the management of the ill-fated developer to shed light on the issue.

“While it may have been caused by fortuitous events we would like to see if there are transgressions of the building code and other allied laws,” said Avila.

Engineer Patrick Lachica and Hannah Jean Aragon, both employees of FCL Construction, were buried alive after the workers’ barracks of the ongoing construction of Mega Pine Condominium located at Sandico Street collapsed due to erosion.

Despite an immediate rescue operation mounted by the construction company personnel and other rescue groups, it failed to recover both victims alive with Salvador Opiano, another employee of Mega Pine Condominium surviving the incident.

“We would like to know the assistance rendered to the victims,” added Avila.

Vice Mayor Edison Bilog said the construction has put the lives and property of Baguio residents in the area at risk.

“Dalawa na ang namatay. Dapat hindi na natin antayin na mas madami pang mamatay bago kumilos ang lokal na gobyerno ng Baguio, (Two [people] already died. We should not wait until more get killed before the government makes a move.)” said Bilog.

“Legislative inquiry should be made. Hindi na ito maganda, hindi lang isang beses nangyayari ang dami ng ganitong insidente, (This is not good. It is not the first time this happened, there have already been several similar incidents),” adds Bilog.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the construction company may be liable for the collapsed structure if it will be found out that the company did not put into consideration its safety for its employees.

“The investigation is ongoing at Sandico. I think what the contractor did was to dig through the said area without considering putting up any protection. He may have been confident that it would not erode or slide but look what happened,” Domogan stressed.

Domogan reiterated that even if the local government unit would conduct an inspection in all ongoing construction in the city to prevent such incidents from happening, it is still the obligation of contractors to assure the presence of safety regulations.

“Every company who will undergo any construction operations must always consider safety regulations since it is their obligation. While it is true that the aggrieved party can file a case of homicide through reckless imprudence against the contractor, the violation he is still negligence on the part of the contractor and they will have to answer for those unfortunately died,” Domogan added.

FCL Construction Company has assured of assistance to the families of those who died.

The Office of the Civil Defense in the Cordillera meanwhile reported Joshua Valencia was recovered alive by rescue teams who responded to a landslide incident at Barangay Loakan. (With a report from Jonathan Llanes)