Floor of building under construction collapses; 3 workers, including pa and son, killed

Killed were Rudy Caputi, 58, and his son Cocoy, 32; and Loloy del Rosario, 20.

Engr. Joaquin Cui, building official of the City Engineers Office, told reporters the accident was caused by a “failure of (construction) method.”

Cui said if a building permit had been issued, there would have been no problem on the building design. “The problem was in the execution of the plan," Cui said.

But June Santos and Eulanda Ombing, City Engineers' Office inspectors assigned in the area said the Five Star Surplus and Hardware, Inc., owner of the building, started construction even before the issuance of a building permit.

The building permit was issued only on November 6 but a worker told MindaNews construction started on September 20.

The building under construction is supposed to be an extension of the main building, with the ground floor as a garage, and the second floor as a function hall, Wilberto Rico Kwan Tiu, Davao City Fire Marshall, said.

Ombing said they sent the company three notices from the first to the last week of October to conduct a survey but were barred entry to the premises.

Kwan Tiu told Mindanews in a telephone interview that the building collapsed because the coco lumber used as scaffolding was not able to hold the weight of the cement that was being poured on the second floor of the building.

Workers identified the owner of the building as Five Star Surplus and Hardware, Inc., managed by Marcelino Loto. Loto and the project engineer, John Ang, could not be reached for comment. But Maceste Uy, company lawyer, told reporters they will extend financial assistance to the victims.

Roy Cervera, the company's foreman, identified the injured workers as Dondon Datuin, Ronald Arancon and Arnold Bacolod. The three were rushed to a hospital. The 20 other workers, some of whom had minor bruises, were all accounted for, he said.

The City Engineers' Office maintains that constructing a building without a permit is illegal.

 "The construction of the building should not start while the permit is not yet issued", Engr. Gloria Lumapas, Chief Enforcement Officer of the Building Permit Division told reporters.

Lumapas vowed to finish their investigation in two days. She said they have required the contractor to provide the logbook from the construction engineer to determine the activities of the construction prior to the collapse.

Tiu said the fire department will coordinate with the City Engineers Office in the investigation.

Atty. Karlos Isagani Zarate said aside from the possible fines and revocation of the engineer's license, the company could also be held liable for the incident and may face charges of reckless imprudence resulting to damage to properties and multiple homicide.  (Cherry S. Concon/MindaNews)