MORE than 50 percent of the ceramic tiles and plywood being shipped to the Philippines have no Philippine Standard (PS) or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) marks, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Wednesday.
BOC records show that a total of 66,493 tons of ceramic tiles and 31,077 tons of plywood were imported in July.
The bureau said it is conducting investigations in coordination with the DTI to establish the exact quantities of the imported materials.
“Further investigations are ongoing to establish the precise amounts but there is sufficient evidence that the amounts already released are substantial,” it added.
The bureau initially found that 26,226 tons of the imported tiles or 39 percent were released without the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) clearance.
There were also 14,704 tons or 22 percent that may have already been released without BPS clearance, it said.
Another 22,818 tons or 34 percent of imported tiles were released or cleared for release but the BPS is still verifying whether the appropriate clearances were issued.
Of a total of 31,077 tons of plywood, 7,566 tons or 24 percent were released without BPS clearance.
There were also 13,843 tons or 45 percent that may have already been released also without BPS clearance.
The BOC urged the public to look for the PS or ICC sticker when buying ceramic tiles and plywood to ensure that the materials had passed through quality testing.
It said measures will be put in place to monitor compliance of importers, Customs examiners and appraisers of all import permit and clearance requirements.
Among the measures are the regular sharing of data on regulated imports with import-regulating agencies such as BPS; sanctions against Customs employees who clear imports of regulated products without import permits; legal action against importers who import products without required import permits; product recall and appropriate legal action by DTI against subject importers; and conduct of information and educational campaign on PS and ICC mark schemes for all stakeholders.
The bureau noted that most building and construction materials in the market are required to undergo the BPS Product Certification Scheme for product safety and reliability.
The materials include steel pipes and bars, cement, ceramic tiles, equal-leg angle bars, flat glass, Polybutylene (PB) pipes, Polyethylene (PE) pipes, Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride (uPVC) pipes and rigid electrical conduit, plywood, rerolled steel bars, sanitary wares, steel sheets for roofing and low-carbon steel wires.