AFTER the fire that consumed a great portion of NCCC Mall and killed 37 employees of SSI, a business process outsourcing (BPO) company leasing at the 4th floor of the mall, the BPO Association of Davao Inc. (BPOADI) calls on to other BPO companies in the malls in the city to review emergency coordination protocols to avoid similar tragedy from happening again.

In a statement released both by BPOADI president Xavier Eric Manalastas and ICT Davao president lawyer Samuel Matunog, BPO companies leasing in the malls in the city are urged to coordinate with their lessor’s safety personnel in reviewing these emergency protocols.

The statement also said that the protocols should be made sure to be updated and current. The mall security must also have direct coordination and access with the leasing BPO’s security in order to help facilitate evacuation.

“We mourn this loss in the industry and want to point our concern to the possible lack of coordination between the mall security and SSI security. All NCCC employees and clients were safely evacuated. In fact, many of those with cars parked in the basement were still able to drive out safely! Why were the agents trapped? We also wonder why 3 rescued SSI employees need to climb out to the rooftop to escape the fire. Were there not supposed to be fire exits, and weren’t there supposed to be people guiding the employees’ evacuation as well?” the statement pointed out.

Meanwhile, the investigation of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is still ongoing and has yet to release statement regarding the cause of the fire.

However, earlier published reports said the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) will be looking into the possible violation committed by NCCC Mall management with regards to the safety and health standards.

“The findings of the investigation shall be submitted directly to me for purposes of determining responsibility and for appropriate legal action,” said Dole Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

As a support to the families of the bereaved, BPOADI encourages BPO companies in the city to contribute to a benevolent fund that will be administered by the ICT Davao treasurer and to be handed out directly to the relatives.

Through their respective companies, BPO employees may also contribute in their personal capacity. They may authorize their company to deduct a specific amount from their salary which will then be forwarded to the fund.

As a means to mourn as one industry, BPOADI and ICT Davao declared December 24 as a day of mourning for the BPO industry of Davao City.