The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Consumer Protection Group raided early this month substandard steel products being sold in two hardware stores in Caloocan City with technical experts from the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI).
PISI President Roberto Cola expressed satisfaction at the DTI’s vigilance, and hopes the campaign against substandard construction materials will be sustained.
“These substandard materials are as dangerous to our people as the killer buses whose franchises the LTFRB [Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board] cancelled,” he said.
Technical teams sent by the PISI to inspect damaged structures in Bohol and Leyte found widespread use of substandard construction materials.
Amid greater public concern over the proliferation of substandard construction materials, officials involved in the rehabilitation of the areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda have committed to ensure only properly certified materials are used.
Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo warned unscrupulous steel merchants.
“[The DTI will] outright cancel the PS [Philippine standard] license or ICC [import commodity clearance]certificate of any manufacturer or importer found violating the provision of the Consumer Act of the Philippines and the Standards Law,” he added.
The PISI is urging greater vigilance against the proliferation of substandard products. Most of these products were smuggled into the country, evading technical inspection. Filipino steelmakers offered the government assistance in the form of logistical support and technical expertise to help improve monitoring.
DTI-Consumer Protection Group head Victorino Mario Dimagiba committed to file charges against the erring traders and summon the manufacturers responsible for substandard steel products. The agency committed to conduct further raids on retail outlets and closely monitor the production processes of some domestic manufacturers.
The raids on Xtreme Unite Steel Inc. and WDL Enterprises, both along Quirino Highway, resulted in the confiscation of thousands pieces of uncertified and substandard steel reinforcement and angle bars.
Some of the substandard products appeared to have been smuggled in. Others bore the markings of domestic manufacturers, namely: Continental, Dragon Asia, Cathay Pacific, Mackay and Somico. The confiscated products will be destroyed.