Philippines May Sue Over Collapsed CTV Building – Updated

(Scroll down for updates)

Following the lead of Chinese families who lost their children in the Christchurch earthquake  and were offered lower than expected compensation under the NZ government’s ACC scheme, the Philippine government has said they will sue if liability is proved in the collapse of the CTV building.

All of the Philippines’ dead were in the  CTV building. T0 date the following victims have been identified

  • Valquin Descalsota Bensurto, 23
  • Lalaine Collado Agatep, 38
  • Erica Avir Reyes Nora, 20
  • Jewel Jose Francisco, 26
  • Ivy Jane Cabunilas, 33
  • Emmabel Cabahug Anoba, 26
  • John Kristoffer Villegas Chua, 24
  • Mary Louise Anne Amantillo whom text her parents as she lay trapped and injured
  • Jessie Lloyd Redoble, 30 whom was attending his first day of classes at King’s Education language school

And these are the people that are still listed as missing (these two lists will be continued to be updated after this blog is posted)

  • Ezra Mae Medalle, girlfriend of Jessie Redoble
  • Rhea Mae Sumalpong

Louise Amantillo was alive for a short while after the quake yet her body has still not been identified when this blog was written (she has since been found), surely questions should be being raised as to why this is taking so long.

A full list of victims may be found here reported that

The Philippines government’s first priority was repatriation but if a Royal Commission of Inquiry found liability then the families would demand compensation from those responsible, Philippines Embassy charge d’affaires Giovanni Palec told NZPA.

The students come here to have a better chance of employment and families have invested a lot of money for them. Some were working and sending income to their families,”

But New Zealand law prevents them from suing, this is because the country has a no-fault accident compensation scheme that effectively removes the right to sue for loss or damage

Prime Minister John Key said options for the Chinese and Philippines governments were limited from a civil liability perspective, although someone could still be criminally prosecuted.

“New Zealand law is; in a work accident like this or a fatality, then ACC applies, and we have a no-fault scheme.”


See also: Earthquake Inquests:  Family says that red stickered building wasn’t safe. The Coroner backs off making conclusions and defers to forthcoming Commission of Inquiry to look at the stability of already damaged buildings in the fatal earthquake. Watch to see if the Inquiry will address the issues raised in this newspaper report or whether it will avoid them.

No right to sue

New Zealand’s has a no-fault Accident Compensation Scheme. The Accident and Compensation Commission (ACC) administers a 24 hour, 7 day per week, no-fault, comprehensive accident insurance scheme covering New Zealanders and those people visiting New Zealand. In return for this cover, people do not have the right to sue for damages if another person, or organisation, is at fault.

No fault can also mean no responsibility.

We think it may be time to review the payments made to non-residents in New Zealand, many of whom come from wealthier countries with higher average earnings and standards of living. Or better still, give foreign nationals the right to opt out of ACC cover and give them (or their insurance companies) the legal right to sue for damages if they wish.

By way of comparison here is some information about the ACC payment made to the family of the youngest victim of the Pike River Coal Mine disaster (source)

The family of the youngest miner to be killed in the Pike River coal underground mine will only receive a funeral grant from the Accidental Compensation Corporation (ACC).

Joseph Dunbar was only 17 and on his first shift when the blasts ripped through the mine, killing him and 28 colleagues.

But despite millions of dollars in compensation to be paid to the families of the miners, the youngest victim’s family is only entitled to funeral expenses not exceeding $5541.

The decision has left Dunbar’s mother, Pip Timms feeling like her son’s life “wasn’t worth much”.

Unfortunately another downside of  NZ’s ACC system is that it doesn’t cover injured foreign nationals for loss of income or treatment in their home countries. This is something that severely  injured doctor, 49  year old Catherine Carlyle from Adelaide,  probably fell foul of. Read “Australian tourist injured by dolphin boat.”

Changes may well be needed to the ACC system. New Zealand has a very lucrative international student education industry and you can be sure that the families of these students will be watching very closely to see if New Zealand is worth the risk to their investment in their childrens’ future.

International Students (From our Economy Facts and Stats page)

  • International students are worth $2 Billion annually to the NZ economy. One leading academic has described them as being “only seen as cash cows“Latest statistics put the figure for foreign students studying in NZ at 93,500, including about 15,400 in schools and 29,400 in tertiary institutions. There was a 10 per cent growth in revenue from international fee-paying students in 2009, totalling $664 million.

Update 25 April 2011

Andrew “Bish” Bishop who was killed in the CTV collapse told family members he felt uncomfortable working in the creaking building.

The forthcoming commission of inquiry will not be apportioning blame:

“The commission will not apportion blame, but will look into what caused the failure of the CTV and Pyne Gould Corporation buildings and other structures, and the implications for building standards in central business districts across New Zealand.” source

You may also be interested in our other posts

Questions Arise Over CTV Building Safety, “Holes In Walls,” Building “Safe Enough”

1996 Documentary Warned About Christchurch’s Earthquake Risks

China Requests Additional Compensation For NZ Quake Victims

Green-tagged Buildings In Christchurch Should Probably Have Received Foundation Improvements After First Quake

Wellington’s 808 Earthquake Prone Buildings, List Released

Auckland’s Secret 412 Earthquake Prone Buildings

Philippines Warns Citizens About NZ’s Work to Residence Scheme

One thought on “Philippines May Sue Over Collapsed CTV Building – Updated

  1. Copy paste from Canadians working in a NZ hospital. I have been reading their blog.

    “The health system though is quite socially based like ours and there is an immense amount of funding for people who have ‘accidents’. It appears that Kiwis have this idea that if they want to go bunji jumping with a shoelace or base jumping into a bridge (too soon?) then they should be able to do so without the worry that they will have health bills if they survive the ordeal. So the government pays for all accidents. This may seem like a good idea, yes? Well, one major downside we believe is related is that because the government pays for accidents and people don’t often sue when hit by a car, drivers don’t really seem to care if they are going to hit you or not; New York drivers are more considerate…yeah; I know – New York!”

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