The Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) is calling for stricter monitoring and prompt prosecution of manufacturers and resellers of substandard steel products after undersized reinforced steel bars were discovered in hardware stores in Nueva Ecija and Pampanga.
PISI cited a document from the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) said these substandard rebars were manufactured by two steel companies.
“It is crucial that we rein in the proliferation of inferior steel products in the country especially as the construction sector goes through a slump because of the coronavirus pandemic,” PISI president Roberto Cola said.
He said the market for construction has shrunk considerably, leading to cutthroat competition that makers of substandard steel products are exploiting.
“Some manufacturers and traders are taking advantage of quarantine restrictions and taking shortcuts that ultimately will harm the end-user,” said Cola.
Representatives from the steel industry have been doing test buys in areas suspected to have substandard rebars to protect the public and sending the collected samples to BPS for testing.
The Pampanga and Nueva Ecija test buys were done in June. BPS sent the samples to the government’s testing laboratory, the Metals Industry Research and Development Center, which released its adverse findings late last month.
Steel rebars made allegedly by the two companies in the BPS document were found to have failed to meet standards on mass variation and deformation requirement of Philippine National Standards.
This means these products can cause failure in structures under stress, he said.
“Low mass variation is like asking someone to pay for 1 kilo of steel and only getting 900 gram,” said Cola.
Cola said consumer complaints should be filed against the manufacturers and retailers, and for consumer groups to work more closely with the government and the steel industry to stop a malpractice that has been a perennial curse to the construction sector.