DOLE-7 orders work stoppage on SRP mall

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva February 22,2017 - 10:12 PM

A perspective of what Filinvest's Il Corso development in SRP which includes the Il Corso Festival Mall. (LIBOTERO.COM)

A perspective of what Filinvest’s Il Corso development in SRP, which includes the Il Corso Festival Mall, would look like when completed. (LIBOTERO.COM)

THE manager and contractor of a Filinvest-owned mall venture at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City have both committed to correct labor violations following a work stoppage order on the project’s construction issued by the Department of Labor and Employment in the region (DOLE-7).

“I was advised that they’re now in the process of complying whatever those alleged deficiencies are,” Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI) vice president and Visayas cluster head Allan Alfon told Cebu Daily News.

Last Feb. 20, DOLE-7 issued a work stoppage order on construction works for the IL Corso Festival Mall project, managed by Mercado Builders, Inc. whose contractor was RBM Construction.

“We actually received a complaint letter from one of the workers of the construction project and this prompted us to send a labor laws compliance officer to conduct a compliance visit at the site,” DOLE-7 director Exequiel R. Sarcauga said in a statement on Wednesday.

Engineer Rustico Custorio, the labor law compliance officer who conducted the visit, observed deficiencies under the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) and others covered by General Labor Standards (GLS).

“The primary reason why we issued a work stoppage order is the presence of imminent danger observed at the site upon the conduct of the compliance visit. The construction project site only uses monkey ladder and canopy structure, which serves as a scaffold and platform for its exterior works,” Sarcauga said.

The parties involved and FLI were ordered to “cease and desist from all their exterior operations until such time that imminent danger is rectified.”

The project’s exterior works included cladding, painting, and roofing, among others.

A mandatory conference with the parties was held on Tuesday with representatives from both companies present during the meeting with DOLE.

Assistant Regional Director, Joel M. Gonzales, who presided over the conference, said that other deficiencies noted under the OSHS included the following: no DOLE-approved Construction Safety and Health Program (CSHP); no safety officer with Construction Safety Training (CST) certificate; no DOLE-accredited Safety Practitioner; no first aider; no Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB) license; no structural analysis for gondola or monkey ladder; no TESDA certificate or NCII for heavy equipment’s operators and skilled workers covering electricians, welders, and scaffolders; and no Occupational Health Nurses Association of the Philippines (OHNAP)-certified appointed nurse.

There are more deficiencies noted under the OSHS apart from the ones highlighted, Gonzales said.

Upon inspection, it was also found that workers had no personal protective equipment (PPE) such as full body harnesses, hard hats, uniforms, and safety shoes.

“On the PCAB issue, the deficiency did not only involve Mercado Builders, Inc. and RBM Construction. It also implicated 10 other contractors, which are directly under FLI,” Gonzales added.

However, he noted that DOLE is glad that the management representative of Mercado Builders assured that they were going to address the deficiencies observed as soon as possible.

DOLE, he said further, decided to call the attention of Trans-Asia Philippines, Inc., the construction manager of the IL Corso Festival Mall project, where concerned contractors are said to be directly reporting to.

Under the General Labor Standards, deficiencies noted involved underpayment of wages; non-payment of overtime pay, holiday pay, service incentive leave, and 13th month pay; no employment records; no proof of coverage of SSS, Philhealth, and PAG-IBIG; and no approved Time and Motion Study from the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) for “pakyaw”-based workers.

Time and Motion Study (TMS) is the systematic determination of work methods and time standards using various tools and technologies.

Time standard refers to the time required by an average worker to perform the prescribed and standardized work in prevailing conditions.

The work stoppage order can only be lifted when all deficiencies observed are corrected.

Section VI of Department Order 131-13 or the Rules on Labor Laws Compliance System states that: “In case the violation is attributable to the fault of the employer, the employer shall pay his or her employees all the monetary benefits, which they are entitled to, for the duration of the Work Stoppage Order.”

IL Corso, Filinvest’s flagship P3-billion mall project in Cebu, is part of its 50.4-hectare master planned business and residential community, City di Mare, at the SRP.

It will have 11 connected buildings with a gross floor area of 55,000 square meters and gross leasable area of 36,000 sq.m. upon completion.

Joy Polloso, Filinvest retail group vice president, said the recent work stoppage order will not affect their schedules.

“The subjected contractor is doing less work already in our area. (What’s left is) a bit (of exterior work) and few works inside,” she said.

The mall project was expected to open within the year.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, City di Mare, construction, DOLE, Il Corso, mall, South Road Properties, SRP

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