Probe sought on use of substandard steel
The alleged collusion between big steelmakers and personnel of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has caused the proliferation of substandard steel products smuggled into the country, a lawmaker said on Thursday.
Certain personnel of both the DTI and the BOC may be profiting from this illicit enterprise, warned Agusan del Norte 1st District Rep. Lawrence Lemuel Fortun, who called for an inquiry on the use of “substandard” steel bars in high-rise projects in House Resolution No. 379.
“The sale is posing grave threats on the lives and properties of Filipinos and muddling the integrity of the government’s ‘Build, build, build’ program,” the lawmaker said, adding that it also “deprives the government billions of pesos in taxes and penalties for import misdeclarations.”
Structural engineer Emilio Morales, in his 2010 study, said the National Structural Code imposed limitations on the use of quench-tempered (QT) or thermodynamically tested steel bars since these materials could not be subjected to bending, welding, threading or galvanizing.
“This poses a high risk when used in the construction of high-rise buildings and can submit to failure when subjected… (to) a high-intensity earthquake,” Morales said.
Such QT steel bars may be used only for low- to medium-rise buildings and “nonsensitive” structures such as fences and roads.
In his resolution, Fortun expressed suspicion that the collapse of Chuzon Supermarket in Porac, Pampanga, on April 22, following a 6.1-magnitude earthquake, was caused by the use of QT steel bars.
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