Philippine Daily Inquirer

Probe starts on sellers of substandar­d steel

Use of weak rebars for ‘Build, Build, Build’ feared


SANFRANCIS­CO, AGUSANDEL 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.

Undersized, underweigh­t

“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.

Stiff competitio­n

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.—

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