MANILA — Marking the 40th day of mourning for the slain construction workers of Eton Residences in Makati, the Justice for Eton 11 Network led a candle-lighting vigil in front of Eton Residences construction site in Gallardo Street corner Paseo de Roxas, Monday evening.
According to the Justice for Eton 11 Network, a loose network of victim’s families, non-government organizations and religious groups, the activity seeks to remind Eton Properties, the main developer, its contractors and subcontractors, as well as the Aquino government, of the families’ continuing search for justice and accountability.
Last January 27, one of Eton Residences’ gondolas fell from the 28th floor, killing 10 workers while seriously injuring another one. No one has been held accountable for the tragedy up to now.
The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to take necessary measures in addressing the “multiple subcontracting chains” which continue to exist in Eton Residences, making accountability on the tragedy hard to trace.
“What we have seen in Eton are layers of subcontracting which created an impunity cloak for contractors and the developer and which made workers more vulnerable to injustice. And yet DOLE has not acted to squarely address the practice despite the tragedy,” said EILER executive director Anna Leah Escresa.
EILER said the Eton tragedy highlights the need to review and repeal existing DOLE orders and advisories that tolerate this wily practice of companies to skirt accountability and cheapen labor cost. The group added that Eton Properties can be criminally charged for the non-payment of minimum wage according to existing laws, as construction workers in Eton Residences continue to receive “slave wages” of P260 a day on an average. (Photos by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / )