Skeletal remains found in burned mall in Davao

Families and friends of the 38 persons who perished in the NCCC Mall Davao fire on December 23, 2017 in Davao City light candles on the steps of the mall after a mass officiate by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles on Christmas Day, 25 December 2017. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 July) – Demolition workers found skeletal remains among the debris on the third floor of the burned NCCC Mall Davao on Tuesday afternoon, an official of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said on Thursday.

Davao City Fire Marshal Major Virna Silagan told MindaNews that the workers discovered a skull 52 days after the demolition started on May 19 and nearly seven months after the December 23, 2017 fire incident.

She said the workers did not push further into the rubble as the area might collapse but more skeletal remains were found as they continued the clearing on Wednesday morning.

“Kahapon may other parts nakita, ina-assume nila na tao (More parts were recovered yesterday, they assumed that they were human bones),” she said.

D.M. Consunji Inc. handled the demolition. Asked if there was any report of missing employees, Thea S. Padua, the company’s public relations manager, said there was none.

The fire that started on the mall’s department store on the third floor killed 37 trapped call center agents and one mall employee. Their charred bodies were recovered on the 4th floor where the Survey Sampling International (SSI) operated.

Silagan said the Scene of the Crime Operatives retrieved the remains on Wednesday evening while the BFP-Davao endorsed this recent development to the Inter-Agency Task Force for investigation.

The site where the remains were discovered has been cordoned already, she said.

At least 33 individuals may face criminal and administrative cases due to the fire incident, according to a report released by the IATF on June 8.

Among those who face possible administrative and criminal charges are owners and officers of NCCC Mall Davao, SSI, and officials of BFP 11, City Building, Philippine Economic Zone Authority and AC Rockport Construction and Development Corporation.

The task force found, among others, that there was malpractice in the installation of electrical wirings during the renovation at the third floor, absence of appropriate license of some workers performing electrical works and absence of building permit during renovation. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)