Substandard steel uncovered in Luzon hardwares: PISI

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    The Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) has reported to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) yet another batch of steel bars that are either unmarked or had unregistered logos in central and northern Luzon.

    PISI president Ronald Magsajo in a letter told the DTI “we are troubled by this occurrence (and) persistent menace.”

    PISI has been stepping up its drive against substandard steel products, especially with the construction sector going through a slump because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The group said the market for construction markets has shrunk considerably, leading to cutthroat competition that makers of substandard steel products are exploiting.

    In a statement, PISI said the steel bars were purchased by the group’s monitoring team from two hardware stores, one in in La Union and the other in Pampanga in October.

    In a related development, PISI said recent tests conducted on samples of steel products manufactured by a local company showed non-compliance with safety standards.

    PISI said while the company’s 10-millimeter rebars passed tests conducted by the Metals Industry Research and Development Center, its 12-mm were found to be deficient in terms of mass variation.

    Magsajo said “there is reason to believe that similar unmarked and untraceable bars “have found their way across other regions”, possibly smuggled into the country.

    “We cannot overemphasize the dangers posed to lives and property by having noncompliant, untraceable bars in the market,” he said.

    Magsajo added this “potentially destructive practice” will also impact on the government’s “Buy Local” campaign.

    This is not the first time that PISI has found unmarked rebars or with non-registered embossed logos.

    Earlier in October, its inspection team discovered substandard rebars in hardware stores in Central Luzon that were allegedly manufactured by another local company, which alongwith another firm, Philippine Koktai Metal, were cited in June for selling undersized rebars.

    PISI said their rebars failed to meet standards on mass variation, bending, lug height and diameter, and tensile and yield strength. — Irma Isip