Probe starts on sellers of substandard steel
SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur — Two hardware stores here named in a recent report of the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (Pisi) as selling substandard steel rebars failed to show Product Standard certificates for the items they were selling during actual inspection on Tuesday, an official said on Wednesday.
What they presented later, according to Jose Baron Jr., acting provincial director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), were e-mails from the supposed manufacturer, Davao Mighty Steel Corp..
Baron said the authenticity of the certificates attached to the e-mails could not be immediately verified and these had to be sent to the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) in Manila.
“We will verify the authenticity of Product Standard certificates provided by the two hardware stores in two towns of this province that are selling questionable reinforced steel bars,” he said.
Baron said the verification was needed to check the May 16 report by Pisi, which said that the two hardware stores here were among 10 hardware stores across Mindanao found to be selling construction steel bars that were either undersized, underweight or did not pass safety standards.
The Pisi findings were based on results of material testing at the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) in Taguig City on May 11. MIRDC is an accredited BPS testing center.
A store owner said they were allowed to continue selling the steel bars they had in stock while authorities waited for the results of the BPS materials testing, which was expected to come out in a month.
But he added that he did not doubt the quality of the products.
The store owner also hinted that the crackdown on substandard steel bars might have something to do with stiff competition between two groups of steel manufacturers.
Pisi earlier said the proliferation of substandard steel had gone nationwide.
In April, Pisi asked the DTI to file criminal charges against hardware store owners and local manufacturers selling substandard rebars in light of the construction boom ushered in by the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure initiative.
Pisi had found many stores in Central Luzon selling defective rebars, according to Pisi in an April report. —Chris Panganiban
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.