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CatSU contractor in hot water for unsafe worksite

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Catanduanes field office has issued a Work Stoppage Order on the contractor undertaking the extension of the second floor of the College of Arts & Sciences building at the Catanduanes State University.

According to a DOLE source, the order was made after a 20-year old laborer from Tilod, Baras was found dead on the slab flooring, apparently a victim of electrocution, at about 2 P.M. of Feb. 12, 2021.

He had been using a heavy-duty electric drill to gouge out the concrete at the top end of the reinforced column when the metal drill bit hit an existing PVC conduit of a live wire.

The source said initial findings showed several unsafe acts on the part of the contractor, including the absence of a safety officer or first aider at the site, lack of approved safety plan, lack of safety shoes for workers, non-observance of “tag-in, tag-out” procedure and lack of NC-II certification among skilled workers hired by the contractor.

On the other hand, it cited unsafe conditions at the site such as “octopus” electrical connections, improper housekeeping, absence of safety signages, improper electrical wire lining, exposure to wet conditions, and failure to provide original electrical plan for the building.

Most likely, the contractor’s site engineer, if there was one, did not brief the workers on the existence of live wire connections prior to drilling. Whether the engineer saw the original plans for the first phase of the building, or whether the contractor actually got a copy prior to starting work, remains to be seen.

Incidentally, while the listed contractor is based in Legazpi City, the group actually prosecuting the contract is from Virac and is reportedly implementing, along with the CatSU projects, a number of multi-million contracts with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

There are reports that several of these DPWH projects are already behind schedule, for obvious reasons.

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Still up for consideration by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is a joint petition of two accredited driving schools in Catanduanes – The Gilgal Training Center, Inc. and Quality and Safety Driving Center Corporation – strongly opposing the intention of TESDA Cabugao School of Handicrafts and Cottage Industries to apply for the same accreditation.

According to the petitioners, TESDA-CSHCI has no appropriate facilities as prescribed by LTO Memorandum Circular No. 2019-2176 and the addition of another driving school would exceed Catanduanes’ bearing capacity, affecting the viability of the two existing driving schools and run counter to the LTO regional office’s commitment that it will no longer open additional schools in the island.

In his reply to the petition, TESDA-CSHCI administrator Elpidio Tuboro said the school is only to extend its services to the public, which it said would have the freedom to choose where to enroll for driving lessons.

He indicated that the fees to be paid to the private driving schools would discourage majority of applicants for driver’s licenses from complying with the law, although Tuboro did not cite data on the private driving schools’ fees and TESD-CSHCI’s proposed fees.

Pursuant to the cited LTO memorandum circular, applicant driving schools must have, a side from the usual permits, a bank certificate or credit line of P3 million in the name of the owner of the school.

There are also a number of facilities and equipment which the driving school must have to be accredited as one.

Let us look into whether these two private driving schools have complied with the requirements.

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TREATING CONSTIPATION. An old woman went to see the doctor about her constipation.

She told him: “I haven’t moved my bowels in a week.”

The doctor said: “Have you done anything about it?”

“Well, yes, I sit in the bathroom for half an hour in the morning and again at night.”

“No,” said the doctor. “I mean, do you take anything?”

“Sure,” replied the old lady. “I take a book.”

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