Journey 122: ACCOUNTABILITY

Part of the healing process of the grief-stricken families is establishing accountability. Lives were loss over this tragedy and there has to be accountable people who should answer to the bar of justice.

When I was writing on my PhD dissertation at La Salle University, my area was human safety and ergonomics at schools, ergo, extensively, I covered the provisions of the National Building Code, the Fire Code of the Philippines and the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, of which I believed, were blatantly ignored among several key officials of government in the City of Tuguearao. Foremost, there has to be working fire alarm system which could have turned out differently had it been functioning (if in case, there was one on the hotel). There has to be water sprinklers on every floors considering that the budget hotel is catering to the public. The entrance as well as the exits should not be obstructed and a functioning fire safety provisions like extinguishers should be made available for the use.

Sunshine bed and breakfast

I have never been to Tuguegarao City in Cagayan Valley and the farthest I had been to was only Baguio City and Baler, Aurora, but by the looks of that burning establishment, it should not pass as a hotel in the first place. That structure is a damning fire-trap which is potentially disastrous which has been proven on the dawn of Sunday.

According to Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent for the Gulfnews.com: “Budget lodging accommodations and dormitories in the Philippines, including those in the cities, have a reputation for being virtual firetraps. While the government requires such establishments to conform to fire and other safety standards, it is often the case that inspecting authorities turn a blind eye on infractions, even if that could cost the lives of patrons.”

I concur with that statement because in the course of my studies, I encounter instances where building permits were granted to a building which should never been issued one due to violations and an anathema to safety. This is the classic examples we had in Philippine safety and more so, the government is not at all, showing seriousness in implementing provisions of the building code, the fire code and the sanitation code of the Philippines.

Accountability

There has to be accountable people here. The lives of those whose dreams of becoming nurses are far greater than anyone could ever imagine and these precious lives they have taken away are not just “lives”, it is the hope of the nation, a city and a family. Imagine nine (9) nurses getting employed elsewhere and somewhere, helping their families, establishing a good family and making our health system proactively better every day. These dreams were cut-off because of fire but mainly because of neglect, greed and irresponsibility as well as lack of foresight.

My only suggestion is for the family to file a class-action suit against the review center who took their sons to that run-down hotel, to the hotel owners and to the officials of the City Government of Tuguegarao for ignoring the tell-tale signs of disaster. This is unacceptable and careless.

These young men could have been great nurses. Nurses whom we rely for nurturing and health services. They could have been great modern-day heroes working for their families. The potentials that they young nurses were forever taken away from them because of the failure to provide safety.

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