By Samuel P. Medenilla, April 24 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to GMA News

The labor department on Tuesday said it would still have to verify reports about some employers who reportedly refused to evacuate their workers from the work site at the height of the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that shoot Metro Manila and most parts of Luzon on Monday.

“There is no official report to that effect yet,” Labor  Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III told the BusinessMirror via SMS.

The labor chief issued the statement after labor groups accused some employers of noncompliance to evacuation procedures.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) criticized the supposed incidents, which, the labor group said, endangered the lives of the affected workers.

“We received many reports from workers and employees last night about their bad ordeal with their managers, supervisors and employers who did not evacuate them out of the building and from those who were kept from going home and were ordered to return to work despite of the dangers and hazards on the workplace caused by the quake,” TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said in a news statement.

The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), for its part, also raised similar concern based from its observations in social media of workers from malls and offices in Makati and Taguig Cities.

“This merely shows that they value private property than the lives of people. This is an extreme form of greed,” BMP Chairman Leody de Guzman said.

BPO Industry Employees’ Network (BIEN) said the erring employers could be held accountable for such illegal practice.

“Keeping business as usual in the midst of this life-threatening situation is not only illegal; it is utterly inhumane,” BIEN said in a statement.

BIEN urged the government to implement the provision of the occupational safety and health standards law, or Republic Act 11058.

The labor groups also called on all employers to suspend their operations until they could guarantee the structural integrity of their offices.

“Given the risk of an aftershock and effect of quake on infrastructure, we urge the government and companies to consider suspending operations until buildings and offices are declared safe,” BIEN said.