Saturday, January 29, 2011

Smoke in Manila

 "A temporary elevator at a building construction site in the Philippines capital plunged 25 floors today, killing 10 workers," Associated Press reported recently. Quoting a spokesman for the Eton Properties, "the workers took the platform to go up the 39-storey building instead of taking the stairs."

Up or down, do we have to remind this guy why the elevator was invented, and by the way, these people are dead as a door nail? 

My crystal ball tells me that this case will disappear in the humid and acrid air of Manila as fast as the real Maya birds did. The second richest man in the country, with $2.1 billion,  Lucio Tan a.k.a Eton Properties got "anting-anting" courtesy of his powerful business empire, with roots planted deep below the grounds of our government.

He reminds me of a man that my father once encountered when he was a "double-o-seven" of the National Bureau of Investigation. A Time magazine article titled The Philippines: Smoke in Manila, written in August of 1962, told the story of an American soldier who, like Lucio Tan, became a tobacco baron before branching out to other industries, and then bribed his way to unimaginable wealth after World War II in our country. "A blunt, beefy Chicagoan who changed his name from Steinberg in 1942 because 'German names at that time weren't very popular,' Stonehill built up a $50 million business empire in the Philippines."

Let me remind you that our country was doing well then, better off than China and Japan after having been organized by the Americans after the war.  However, have you heard what the wise men said about pouring new wine into old wine skin?

Senator Jose Diokno ordered Stonehill arrested.  However, it was alleged that instead of making him face charges in court, President Diosdado Macapagal had him deported to avoid a scandal in his presidency.  It was believed that Stonehill had his hands on some members of his Cabinet. Talk about pulling the first lint off the fabric of our conscience as a nation.

Now, about conscience, a Christian preacher on TV described it very well. He said that it is like a triangular wheel inside our hearts. Whenever we do something wrong, the wheel turns and hits the corners of our hearts. If we keep on doing it, after a while, there would be no more corners to hurt.

We are as guilty as the Lucio Tans or Macapagals wrong doers of this world for not doing anything to stop them. But then again, nothing that can't be fixed like the gondolas of the buildings in Manila. Don't you think so?

Note: Photo is from Reuters UK


  1. More buildings in Manila are now careful with their operation.

  2. its not really the managements fault because the workers specifically knew that they weighed beyond the max capacity of the service elevator.
    It's one of those construction elevators that can only carry 3 people at most.

    funny photo though :)

  3. Hi Bianca,

    Thank you for your comment. I agree that workers are also responsible in many ways. But management should be held more responsible because they are more empowered to put in place safety measures. Health and safety go beyond labeling capacity and what not. It should be a more aggressive campaign, educating workers and empowering them in the proper way of doing things. In Canada, we are mandated by law to conduct health and safety inspections periodically, with forms to fill and file. At work, we have health and safety officers per group.

  4. i agree with all the information mentioned in here, good job. More power



  5. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.