Conduct safety audit after Davao mall fire
May I comment on that dreadful fire in Davao last month that took 38 young lives?
At the time of the fire, there was also a severe tropical storm named “Vinta” that was also affecting Davao and may possibly have contributed to what some survivors recall as the seeming failure of some safety systems. It is possible that the strong winds and rains affected the wiring or air conditioning but we will not know until a full, proper, independent and rigorous investigation is made.
Former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld said once that there were “known unknowns and unknown unknowns” and this may very well fall into one of those categories.
Tragic as this event was, it may well have been unforeseen by most staff and management. After all, there were reports that fire drills had taken place in the past and so people were aware of basic safety issues. But this fire may have been the result of a chain of random seemingly unrelated events which cumulatively wounded up as a disaster.
My wish for 2018 is that a full occupational health and safety audit is taken in each and every workplace in the country, a team effort of staff and their unions, management, the Bureau of Fire Protection and Department of Labor and Employment, and the results made fully public and available online.
If that sounds like a massive undertaking, then we may as well ask: Is life so cheap here in the Philippines that we can’t be bothered doing so basic and life-saving undertakings and that it’s just back to business as usual until it happens again?
Please, no more garment factory fires like in Bangladesh, no more Kentexes. Do the right thing, use some foresight, and save our youth and their future.
WALTER PAUL KOMARNICKI,
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