After accident, LGU partially suspends work at SM-GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY(MindaNews/26 Sept) – The city government has ordered the “partial suspension” of the ongoing development works at SM City General Santos after a portion of the structure collapsed early Sunday and injured four construction workers.

Engr. John Marc Reyes, acting city engineer, said they directed construction firm Monolith Construction and Development Corporation (MCDC) to temporarily stop the construction of SM’s elevated car park building pending an ongoing investigation and assessment by the local government.

The MCDC was contracted by mall developer SM Prime Holdings Inc. to construct the P2.5-billion mall complex, which was initially set to open next year.

“We temporarily suspended the building permit of the car park building until we determine whether it would be safe to continue with its construction or not,” Reyes said.

The official said the fourth level of the mall’s car park building collapsed around 3 a.m. Sunday while workers were pouring cement at the structure.

The collapsed structure, which spans around 300 square meters, reportedly crashed all the way down to the building’s second level.

Sources said 40 people were working on the building’s fourth level and 23 more at the third level when the incident happened. The construction works at the mall complex were done on a 24-hour basis on different work shifts.

But in a press conference, MCDC project engineer Jeston Mananguete cited that only four workers were injured during the incident.

He identified the victims as Henry Gallaza, Rogelio Buban, Cesar John Rense and Allan Salkoretes, who were being treated at a private hospital here.

“We’re assuring their families of full medical assistance and we will fully cooperate with the City Engineer’s Office for the investigation,” Mananguete said.

He said they could not yet say what caused the accident pending a full investigation on the matter.

Mananguete said the area is being secured by the firm properly to give way for the local government’s investigation.

Debbie Go, SM regional operations manager for Mindanao, said they will wait for the results of the investigation before giving out a statement on the cause of the accident.

“We don’t want to speculate on our side about what really happened,” she said. Go said they decided to hold the press conference to clarify supposed reports that several workers were seriously injured or were killed as a result of the incident.

Reyes, who initially inspected the collapsed structure along with the City Engineer’s Office’s engineering team Sunday morning, said they did not proceed further with their investigation due to safety concerns.

He said they will wait for the scheduled arrival of MCDC’s structural and safety engineers on Monday before conducting a thorough inspection of the site.

“We initially instructed them to secure the area and make sure that no workers would enter the accident area until their structural engineers will arrive,” Reyes said.

SM Prime Holdings recently turned over to the city government an additional two lanes along the San Miguel Street here, where the 150,000-sq.m. mall is located.

SM also installed a P53-million drainage system, which would benefit a section of the city at the side of the SM mall in Barangay Lagao. SM officials said it would hire some 8,000 workers from the area for the upcoming operations of the mall, which is bigger than the SM malls in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)