Solon urges DOLE to probe case of ‘abandoned’ construction workers

Published April 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has been urged to probe and penalize Cecon Corporation for supposedly leaving its workers on its construction sites in Pasig City without food, and for violating the country’s minimum wage law.

ACT CIS Partylist Rep. Niña Taduran (Congresswoman Niña Taduran act-CIS Partylist / FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
ACT CIS Partylist Rep. Niña Taduran (Congresswoman Niña Taduran act-CIS Partylist / FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement, ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Niña Taduran said upon personally checking the situation of the abandoned construction workers, she was informed by Junrel dela Cruz, spokesperson of the construction workers, that a laborer’s daily wage amounts to ₱375 a day, while a carpenter gets ₱475 from Cecon through its subcontractors.

During her visit, she also learned that since the start of the Metro Manila lockdown on March 15, the workers “have been fending for themselves through the last salary they received from their subcontractor, Mr. Escauso, and through the help of their relatives in the provinces.”

Quoting Dela Cruz, the Assistant House Majority Leader disclosed that there are 106 abandoned workers at the Exchange Square project beside Tektite Building, Exchange Road, Ortigas, Pasig City and there are several hundreds more in five other Cecon projects.

“Cecon did not even bother to think that they left hungry workers at their construction sites. Ni hindi raw sila sinilip nitong project manager na si Engineer Gerry Villanueva o kahit ‘yung mga subcontractors nila,” Taduran said. (Their project manager Engineer Gerry Villanueva or their subcontractors didn’t even bother to check on them.)

“And when the workers asked if they could get help from DOLE through the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), they were told by the company that they can’t apply for the assistance. How can they apply if they are violating the minimum wage law and their workers don’t have social and health insurances as well?” she pointed out.

The neophyte lawmaker went to the project site after the videos and pictures of abandoned workers seeking food assistance went viral on social media.

ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, has provided food assistance to the distressed workers.

“The food assistance sent to the workers at Exchange Square project will be shared with the 136 more workers at One Filinvest near Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas, Pasig who were likewise allegedly left unattended by Cecon,” the party-list group said in a statement.

They added that DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III has assured ACT-CIS party-list that they will immediately act on the situation of the abandoned workers.