Iloilo City, Philippines. On 11 April 2019, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued an Authority to Conduct Accident Investigation on a drowning incident resulting to the death of a backhoe operator at Brgy. Gemat-y, Passi City.

Labor Inspector Engr. Bladimar Pantillo of the DOLE Iloilo Field Office immediately proceeded to the area to investigate the said incident.

The victim, 35-year old Larry Despi was quarrying and operating the backhoe along Jalaur River when due to a soil collapse, the heavy equipment accidentally fell into a deep portion of the river. The victim was not able to instantly exit the backhoe’s cabin which caused him to drown. He was rushed to Don Valerio Palmares Sr. Memorial District Hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

Further investigation revealed that said quarry site was owned by Dr. Hope P. Lapating of HPL Sand and Gravel Quarry and the backhoe was owned by Mr. Arlie Palmares and the victim was its backhoe operator.  The investigation results show that the company has violate some of the provisions and prohibitions of Republic Act No. 11058 or the new Occupational Safety and Health Law and Department Order No. 198-18 which provides its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

As recommended by the Inspector, all parties were invited for a conference at the DOLE 6 Regional Office at Commission Civil St., Jaro, Iloilo City.

During the course of the conference with Engr. Pantillo, HPL Sand and Gravel Quarry was instructed to comply with the reportorial documents required by the law.  On the same date, DOLE Regional Director Cyril L. Ticao ordered HPL Sand and Gravel Quarry and Mr. Arlie Palmares to solidarily pay P100,000.00 as penalty for the fatal accident and P30,000.00 for not reporting the accident to DOLE within twenty-four hours. They were given ten (10) days to comply with the order.

However, the involved companies decided to pay the total amount of P130,000.00 right after the conference.

Republic Act No. 11058 is an “Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards and Providing Penalties for Violations thereof”.  It was signed into law last August 17, 2018. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of was signed on December 6, 2018 and took effect last January 25, 2019, after due compliance with publication requirements.