January 24, 2018, 1:29 am
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FPI asks DTI to tighten steel, cement testing

The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) has called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to test all the imported steel and cement shipments entering the country.

In a letter the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), FPI chairman Jesus Lim Arranza expressed concern regarding numerous reports of substandard steel and cement entering the Philippine market. Arranza called on the agency to tighten controls for specific construction materials that are widely used in infrastructure and home-building, and crucial to public safety.

Arranza called on the DTI to strengthen  rules on post-shipment inspection of imported steel and cement amidst a series of complaints of alleged uncertified and substandard steel bars, and mislabeled and “expired” cement sold in retail outlets in Luzon and the Visayas. 

Arranza cited there was one documented instance which showed 300,000 expired bags and yet got distributed to different parts of the Philippines. In another,  a total of 56 hardware stores in Pangasinan and La Union were found to be selling not only substandard steel but also other uncertified construction and electrical products.

Arranza expressed concern people will be put at risk if the DTI allows untested steel and cement to be sold in the market. 

“It is the DTI’s responsibility to make sure that the products coming in follow quality and safety standards strictly,” Arranza said

“With the expected building boom, we should be making sure that all the materials coming in follow local regulations. Loosening regulations is tantamount to risking the public’s safety.”

Arranza encouraged steel and cement importers to ask the Trade Department for the list of complaints filed by consumer and trade groups so that “they can verify for itself which companies are the ones involved in the importation of the reported substandard products.”
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