BAGUIO

Steel makers back drive against substandard steel

THE Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (Pisi) supports the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) in the crackdown of substandard steel in Baguio, Pampanga and Quezon Cities.

In a statement sent to SunStar Baguio, Pisi President Roberto Cola said they will continue helping the DTI in market monitoring of steel products that are covered by the mandatory Philippine National Standard (PNS).

“We need to work together to protect the public from purchasing substandard steel materials that are not safe to use in constructing buildings and homes,” Cola said.

Cola added a DTI Consumer Protection Group has been formed and launched with market monitoring operations ongoing to protect consumers and ensure that construction materials used in homes and buildings are safe and strong.

The statement added a series of operations by DTI’s Consumer Protection Group led by Undersecretary Ruth Castelo confiscated steel bars which did not meet quality standards in several hardware stores in Luzon. It also confiscated substandard steel bars by Pampanga-based Wan Chiong Steel which was supposed to be under suspension already due to various violations.

According to Castelo, Wan Chiong Steel was initially suspended in June 2018 but was allowed to operate again after it complied with the regulatory requirements. However, it was issued another suspension order last December following another inspection which showed that its steel products did not meet the required tensile strength.

Wan Chiong Steel uses induction furnace (IF) equipment to produce steel which has already been banned in China due to the pollution it had been causing and the usually below standard quality of their output.

It has been reported by the Asean Iron and Steel Council that 90 percent of the rebars produced in China using the IF process were “substandard with poor mechanical property in elongation and strength which could easily fracture during application.”

In the city, DTI destroyed earlier destroyed P361,000 worth of substandard items seized last December.

DTI officials, with representatives from product manufacturers destroyed the items composed of seven flat glasses and Christmas lights, 90 angle bars and 2,490 steel bars confiscated during inspections in December.

DTI, accompanied by Philippine Steel Association representative Rudolp Miranda; June Vasquez of Ceramic Tile Manufacturer Association; Wilson Agno of Flat Glass Alliance of the Philippines; Nelson Gutierrez of Shape Angle Section Manufacturing, Inc; and Edgar Muratin of the Chamber of Philippine Electrical Wires Manufacturer, Inc. in inspecting the confiscated sub-standard items and during the destruction.

Freda Gawisan, DTI-Benguet provincial director urged the public to be vigilant and scrutinize the products they buy to avoid spending their money on items that do not meet the quality standard. (With a report from PNA)


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