The Department of Trade and Industry, through its Consumer Protection Group (DTI-CPG), conducted monitoring and enforcement activities in Caloocan City among hardware stores along Quirino Highway, and confiscated a total of 10,181 pieces of uncertified and substandard steel bars, angle bars and ceramic tiles worth almost P700,000.
Two big wholesalers of construction materials were found selling underweight steel bars and angle bars, and uncertified ceramic tiles and steel bars.
The DTI confiscated 1,650 pieces of underweight steel bars (12millimeters) and 48 pieces of underweight angle bars (5mm x 50mm x 50mm) from Xtreme Unite Steel Inc.; and 150 pieces of underweight steel bars (10mm), 69 pieces of underweight angle bars (3.5mm x 25mm x 25mm, 5mm x 36mm 36mm, and 5mm x 38mm x 38mm), 10 pieces of uncertified angle bars (4mm x 25mm x 25mm), 8,250 uncertified ceramic tiles in 750 boxes and 4 rolls of uncertified galvanized iron (GI) wires from WDL Enterprises.
The underweight steel bars (12mm) and angle bars (5mm x 50mm x 50mm) from Xtreme Unite Steel Inc., showed the Continental and Dragon Asia brands, respectively. On the other hand, underweight steel bars (10mm), underweight angle bars (3.5mm x 25mm x 25mm, 5mm x 36mm x 36mm, and 5mm x 38mm x 38mm), and uncertified ceramic tiles from WDL Enterprises correspondingly displayed the brands of Cathay Pacific, Mackay, Somico, Arizona and THR. Some of the mentioned brands—Continental, Dragon Asia, Cathay Pacific, Mackay and Somico, are registered brands of PS license holders with the DTI-BPS. Some of the uncertified angle bars (4mm x 25mm x 25mm) and uncertified GI wires were unbranded.
During the inspections, the DTI issued notices of violation to Xtreme Unite Steel Inc. and WDL Enterprises for selling uncertified and substandard construction materials. The notices pressed these wholesalers to appear and explain their sides to DTI within 48 hours from their receipt of the said document.
DTI-CPG Officer-in-Charge lawyer Victorio Mario Dimagiba reports, “Still, we aim to issue formal charges to these retailers within the week and expect to conduct the hearing sessions very soon.”
“Consequently, the DTI will file formal charges against the manufacturers and importers of the confiscated materials, more so on those that have been issued the Philippine Standard (PS) license or the import commodity clearance (ICC) certificate, to which we expect their full compliance with the requirements of the relevant Philippine National Standards (PNS) and Republic Acts 7394 (Consumer Act of the Philippines) and 4109 (Standards Law),” Dimagiba added.
DTI accounts that the confiscated materials are in its custody. Dimagiba emphasized that,
“These now serve as evidences for the administrative cases against the retailers,
manufacturers and importers when they are proven guilty in the committed violations.”
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo stressed that, “The DTI will outright cancel the PS license or ICC certificate of any manufacturer or importer found violating the provisions of the Consumer Act of the Philippines and the Standards Law.”
The distribution and sale of uncertified and substandard products that are under the DTI’s mandatory certification scheme is a prohibited act based on RA 7394, RA 4109 and Department Administrative Order (DAO) 02:2007, with penalties to retailers including an administrative fine of at least P25,000, a cease and desist order issued, destruction of confiscated materials, and imprisonment of not less than two months but not more than two years, and a cancellation of any DTI-issued permit; and to manufacturers and importers such as a product recall, publication of the said recall, an administrative fine of at least P50,000, destruction of confiscated materials, an imprisonment of not less than two months but not more than two years, and cancellation of any DTI-issued license or certificate.
Domingo recounted, “Malacañang’s Proclamation 682 on November 11, 2013, on Typhoon Yolanda, the province of Bohol Resolution 453 on October 15, 2013, and the province of Cebu Resolution 1352 on August 21, 2013, prompted the department to heighten its monitoring and enforcement activities, not only on the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, but also on the performance of construction materials that have been in demand for the repair works of homes, schools, offices and establishments of affected Filipinos particularly in the Visayas region.”
Dimagiba expounded that, “The CWBRG supplements the monitoring activities of the DTI’s Regional Operations Development Group [RODG] through these on-the-spot inspections. The DTI teams are reinforced then with more monitors in the province and city markets.”
CWBRG is the DTI’s Consumer Welfare and Business Regulation Group.
Dimagiba added, “At times, we also request the assistance of the industry associations in providing technical expertise, and to witness the department’s monitoring operations of retailers in the market. For this specific exercise, the DTI-CWBRG’s Bureau of Product Standards [BPS] and the DTI-RODG’s National Capital Region composed the monitoring team, together with representatives from Philippine Institute of Steel and Iron [PISI] and Steel Angles, Shapes And Sections Manufacturers Association Of The Philippines Inc.”
The DTI-BPS is the Philippines’ National Standards Body (NSB) that requires manufacturers and importers of the products under mandatory certification to apply for the Philippine Standard (PS) license and import commodity clearance (ICC) certificate, before their products are distributed and sold in the market. Only manufacturers and importers whose products have passed the Philippine National Standard (PNS) requirements relevant to their product will be issued the PS license and ICC certificate.
DTI-BPS requires the manufacturers and importers to place the PS and ICC marks on the products prior to distribution to their retailers for sale.