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Manila bishop wants probe of Davao City mall fire

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By Leslie Ann G. Aquino

An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) wants a thorough investigation on the fire that gutted a mall in Davao City and killed nearly 37 workers of a call center company.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity, said a thorough investigation should be conducted on the incident particularly on the safety of the place.

“There should be a thorough investigation on the safety of the place,” he said in an interview.

The CBCP official said it was very unfortunate that more than 30 people died because of the tragedy.

“It is very unfortunate and we pray for the victims,” said Pabillo.

The fire at the New City Commercial Center Mall in Davao City on Saturday caused the death of 37 employees of research firm SSI.

In a statement, Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he has already ordered officials of the Occupational Safety and Health Center and the DOLE regional office in Davao to immediately look into possible violations of some safety and health standards by NCC mall management in its operations.

The findings of the investigation, he said, shall be submitted directly to him for purposes of determining responsibility and for appropriate legal action.

He also directed the DOLE regional office to make an inventory and assessment of the affected workers and employees of the mall so that they may be provided with emergency employment.

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