NCCC asks for assessment of working conditions of mall workers

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 September) – The management of the homegrown New City Commercial Corporation (NCCC) said it has asked the Department of Labor and Employment and City Health Office to inspect the three-story NCCC Mall VP (formerly Victoria Plaza Mall) after several employees complained of working for six months without airconditioning units.

Thea Septann S. Padua, public relations manager of the Lim family-owned NCCC, said the mall management expects the two agencies to undertake the assessment this month and assured them it will immediately comply with the requirements.

“We asked the government agencies because we are not in the position. Our government agencies have the authority to make the assessment. Whatever will be the result of the inspection, we are very much willing to comply,” she said in an interview on Monday.

Several workers of Victoria Plaza Department Store, the tenant of what is now NCCC Mall VP, took to social media their complaint by uploading a video, posted with hashtags “#ParasaNCCCMALLVP and #WeNEEDAircon,” saying they could no longer stand the intense heat while working inside the mall.

The mall operator had taken an aggressive expansion plan in recent years, among them the acquisition of Victoria Plaza Mall, the first mall complex in Mindanao, on March 12, 2019. The NCCC took over the management of the mall on March 27, 2019.

After the takeover, Padua said the new mall management immediately took notice of the poor airconditioning system of the 26-year old mall, which was “too old and irreparable,” running at a “very poor efficiency resulting to high-energy consumption.”

Previously owned and managed by Davao Sunrise Investment & Development Corporation of the Limso family, Victoria Plaza opened on March 16, 1993.

The cooling system’s old compressor units were only subjected to repair and rehabilitation in the previous years, she said.

She said the mall plans to replace totally the cooling system.

“Upon assessment, the Packaged Air Conditioning Units (PACU) were already ineffective and unproductive to provide more efficiency for the Mall’s air conditioning system comfort cooling operation,” she said.

She added the management understood the predicament of the mall workers caused by the non-functioning cooling system but assured them that “we have engaged professional services and we have already started the repair and improvement of the mall’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing facilities.”

“We are continuously working to improve the condition of the mall and lessen the inconvenience to our customers more so to our tenants and employees,” she said.

She said the mall has already provided portable coolers to provide comfort to the workers. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)