Group takes action vs. technical smuggling

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An iron and steel industry group has taken action to prevent the continued technical smuggling of substandard products that pose danger to builders who use them.

A complaint for technical smuggling was recently filed by the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) against a company suspected of engaging in technical smuggling. In the complaint, PISI documented the extensive importation of steel products priced way below even the price of scrap metal.

The imports came into the country through the Port of Cebu.

In a press briefing in Quezon City, the PISI cited that according to Philippine manufacturing standards, it is prohibited to fabricate wire rods into reinforcement bars since greater tensile strength is required for load-carrying structures.


PISI said that aside from being imported below their actual value, the steel products in question are also substandard. The government had already warned the public against buying the products.

On February 5, the Bureau of Customs (BoC) published a full-page advertisement in a major newspaper detailing the amounts paid by the country’s steel manufacturers for the products they imported. The information was classified according to the nature of the products brought into the country.

Notable in the published information is the “wide variance in the declared values of products” that fall within a similar category. The listing of steel importers did not explain the wide variance.

The variance is most notable in the category titled “HS Code 7213: Bars and Rods, hot-rolled, in irregularly wound coils, of iron or non-alloy steel.”

Joyland Industries Corp. declared the value of its imports at only P13.41 per kilo, when most of the other importers post much higher values.

Another notable variance is in the HS Code 7211: Flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy wherein Wisdom Marketing declared the value of its imports at only P13.35 per kilo.

The other importers declared values between P46.75 and P18.98 per kilo.

It was learned that Joyland distributed reinforcement bars in the Visayas region.

The proliferation of substandard steel products, especially reinforcement bars, in the Visayas became the focus of grave concern after collapsed structures in Bohol after last year’s earthquake and in Leyte and Samar after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda revealed widespread use of inferior materials.

PISI president Roberto Cola asked the BoC to act on the wide variance in pricing of similar items. “This requires a serious examination of the Bureau’s system for steel product valuations,” he told media in a briefing.

“The exceedingly low price quoted by Joyland,” added Cola, “is already a smoking gun. It shows gross under-valuation. We are waiting for the Customs Commissioner to take firm action on the information the Bureau itself made public.”

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11 Comments

  1. Blake Rodriguez on

    The government should do everything in their power to really go after companies found guilty of illegally importing these low quality steel, not just because of the tax revenues lost (although that in itself is bad enough), but more so because of the lives endangered because of the use of these substandard building materials.

  2. Charity Napalan on

    The government must act now to stop the import and sale of substandard steels. Smuggling of substandard steel endanger the lives of people who use them. The government might want to consider making a group that will monitor and check manufacturing companies in the Philippines since what we have right now are just private organizations.

  3. Filing of cases is one thing, pursuing the case to the end is another. I hope the government will have the political in running after these unscrupulous companies that want to cheat the poor consumers. Monetary penalties are not enough; they must be jailed, especially people in government who collude with them.

  4. Carlos Quidlat on

    Everyone must be punished. Those who are involved in the proliferation of substandard steel bars do not have the heart for the Filipino consumers. They must be jailed.

  5. Why is Joyland still in operation? Haven’t this company caught before smuggling in substandard steel? The government needs to act fast on this one. This company is operating in the Visayas which suffered from an earthquake and a super typhoon. Let us hope that no substandard steel will be used in the rebuilding efforts in the areas affected by the disasters.

  6. oliver vicente on

    It’s apparent that the government strengthen their campaign against these substandard steel especially now that Bohol and Tacloban are starting to rebuild.

  7. Carlos Quidlat on

    Government should now be relentless in running after companies who are into production of substandard steel bars. The danger that they pose to consumers cannot be quantified. We can only take note of what happened in Bohol when the earthquake last year took place.

  8. It is good that the PISI has already taken action against those who have taken advantage of the poor customers. This must serve as example for others in all the industries to take seriously the law and the welfare of the consumers.

  9. Apparently there are Customs officers from Cebu found to be involved in this smuggling issue. They should be taken out of their posts and punished accordingly if this is true. It’s just so disheartening that the people who are supposed to be guarding our posts are the ones helping these companies with their illegal importation practices. Maybe it’s true that everyone has a price. :(

  10. Meredith Pacheco on

    So not only did these companies cheat the government off of who knows how much in taxes by undervaluing their imports, but they’ve also put millions of lives in danger because these steel they’ve illegally imported do not meet the standards set for building materials… Geez, how greedy are these companies? Are lives not worth anything anymore?

  11. Benedict Cordero on

    The BOC should really take action against these companies found to be illegally smuggling in substandard steel. Maybe under the new leadership of Sevilla, these practices of smuggling will be investigated properly and completely stopped. This apparently has been going on for years, most probably with some Customs officials involved in these practices. This needs to stop.