Around 2,000 construction workers suddenly lost their jobs, a day after the the Supreme Court issued a TRO (temporary restraining order) to stop the construction of the controversial Torre de Manila. The TRO took effect immediately, and the said workers were surprised when they came to work this Wednesday, June 17.
According to GMA News, the construction workers only knew that they lost their job when they arrived on the construction site this morning. A representative from DMCI Homes, the properly developer of Torre de Manila, talked to the workers and told them that they could be transferred to another construction projects.
However, the DMCI Homes representative said that mostly likely, not all the 2,000 construction workers will be accommodated by the company. In addition to the burden of losing their jobs, the workers will not receive anything from the company because they are being paid on daily basis – from P400 to P500 a day.
Nevertheless, the construction workers were allowed to enter the site to get their tools and personals belongings. There were some of them who said that they have already been transferred to another project, but far from their homes. But still, most of them are not expecting to have a new job soon.
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The temporary stoppage of the Torre de Manila construction by the SC was made after the Order of the Knights of Rizal filed a petition back in September 2014. Accordng to the group, which was created to honor the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, the high-rise condominium serves as a “national photobomber” for tourists.
In its 26-page petition for injunction, the Order of the Knights of Rizal asked the Supreme Court to issue a TRO to stop the construction of the 47-storey Torre de Manila condominium. The group noted that the Rizal monument in Luneta has been declared a National Cultural Treasure, and therefore should be protected.
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“Torre de Manila building would overshadow the entire monument, whether up close or viewed from a distance. No one can take photo of the Rizal Shrine without also capturing the high-rise condominium at its back.” A statement reads as the petition of the Knights of Rizal (KOR).
In October 2012, controversial tour guide Carlos P. Celdran filed a petition at Change.org, demanding DMCI Homes to stop the Torre de Manila project. In November 2013, the Manila City Council unanimously passed a resolution to temporarily suspend its building permit. However, the construction eventually started.
The DCMI Homes appealed to Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada to reconsider lifing the petition. In January 2014, the Manila Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals (MZBAA) gave a go-signal to the project. Erap then said that it can attract investors, but could be ban if there will be a problem.
In August 2014, Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, insisted that the permits given to DCMI Homes were not sufficient. She noted that she had a hard time believing that the developer is a builder of good faith, citing that it already knew a violation was made.
Meanwhile, the oral argument for this case will start this coming June 30. Now, assuming that the SC will finalize its decision to stop the construction of Torre de Manila, what will happen next? Will DCMI Homes demolish the 30-storey construction? Should SC really need to take this long before releasing the TRO?