• Senate panel to investigate smuggling of steel products

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    ASIDE from rice smuggling, the Senate is also set to conduct an investigation of the alleged proliferation of uncertified and substandard steel and the allegedly rampant smuggling of imported steel products into the country, which is being blamed for the death of hundreds of people in the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that devastated Bohol and Cebu last year.

    Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, in filing Senate Resolution 564 cited the need for the proper Senate panel to look into the issue of substandard steel products in the country with the end in view of amending provisions of Republic Act 7103, or “The Iron and Steel Industry Act.”

    Aquino in the resolution said a series of test buys conducted by the Philippine Iron & Steel Institute (PIS!) and Steel Angles, Shapes & Sections Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Inc. (SASSMAPI) resulted in discovery of substandard steel products being sold in hardware stores located in Caloocan City, Metro Manila.

    The substandard steel products were also found to have no Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) or PS Mark, raising suspicions that these products had been smuggled into the Philippine market by unscrupulous traders.

    The other confiscated products had PS Mark but failed the standard test conducted on them.

    The test buys and standards enforcement operations also resulted in confiscation of thousands of pieces of uncertified and substandard reinforcement and angle bars from different hardware stores reported to be carrying substandard steel products.

    Aquino noted that reinforcing steel bars (Rebars) are consumed more than any other steel product in the Philippines. In fact, he said, all building and infrastructure use rebars to ensure strength and integrity in their concrete foundations and structures.

    Rebars are covered in the Philippine National Standards 49 (PNS49) as mandatory because the products are critical to public safety and should be manufactured from proper steel billets.

    In the past years, however, it was reported that there had been a visible proliferation of substandard rebars in the market.

    Aquino said the aftermath of the disastrous earthquake in the provinces of Cebu and Bohol clearly showed the widespread use of substandard construction materials, which were found in majority of the damaged residential houses, public markets, bridges and other structures.

    “Selling substandard steel is a question of greed and a question of corruption. That’s why we need to investigate this before we lose hundreds of lives to another earthquake or devastation, God forbid,” he added.

    The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that a total of 222 individuals died in the earthquake.

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    9 Comments

    1. Jerry De Jesus on

      “The other confiscated products had PS Mark but failed the standard test conducted on them.”- not only do we have substandard steel but we also have substandard steel being passed for standard and sold in the market. People who don’t really care about quality would usually go for the cheaper one not realizing the fact that what they are using are putting their structures and perhaps their lives at risk. The government must conduct a thorough cleanup of all the steel sold in the market today.

    2. Blake Rodriguez on

      It’s really great that Sen. Aquino has decided to take on this issue of smuggling steel products. It is a very serious matter that needs to be addressed. These smugglers not only defraud the government and avoid paying the right dues, but more importantly they put so many lives at risk by allowing the steel bars to avoid the proper inspections, therefore allowing for the spread of substandard steel out in the market to be used in our structures.

    3. A few months back, raids in retailers Xtreme Unite Steel and WDL Enterprises produced confiscated substandard steel and angle bars bearing the tags of Continental, Dragon Asia, Cathay Pacific, Mackay, Somico, Arizona and THR. It would really do the country good if these companies are penalized and even closed down.

    4. It’s nice to know that Sen. Aquino is doing something in the rampant smuggling of substandard steel products in our country which poses risks to public safety. Hope all the unscrupulous traders and the officials involved in this illegal activity be punish. BOC must intensify its campaign to stop the entry of uncertified steel products from circulating in the market before it can harm consumers once another disaster happen. God forbid!

    5. Carter Gumabay on

      This is great news! Perhaps those companies caught selling substandard steel will finally face some penalties and sanctions. The government should really be stricter in their implementation of the standards and codes regarding building materials in the country.

    6. Dina Dela Cuesta on

      “Selling substandard steel is a question of greed and a question of corruption.” – Sen. Bam Aquino

      Great point, Mr. Senator. Please go after these companies selling substandard steel. The raid before revealed that Cathay Pacific Steel Corp., Continental Steel Manufacturing Corp., Dragon Asia Metal Corp., Mackay Industrial Corp. and Somico Steel Mill Corp. are the companies involved in the proliferation of substandard steel in the market.

    7. Marlowe Pitogo on

      Senator Aquino’s investigation should also focus on how extensive the use of substandard steel bars has become, taking into account the danger that this brings to consumers by recalling the earthquake in Bohol last year. But while the investigation is on going, the government concerned agencies must intensify their monitoring and immediately close down both those manufacturing and selling these products.

    8. It’s a good thing that more and more people are starting to take the dangers of using substandard steel seriously. I hope that it doesn’t stop in the investigation though, a lot has to be done in order to stop the proliferation of these low quality steel products. The BOC for example should increase their efforts in making sure that none of these items can enter our ports, all steel products must also pass some sort of quality.

    9. Senator Aquino should intensify the investigation and come up with a very strong law that will not only slowly eliminate substandard steel bars from the market because of the danger that they bring (remember the Bohol tragedy), but also punish their manufacturers the harshest punishment so that others will learn a lesson..