By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The domestic flat glass industry has urged government to place flat glass under the mandatory product standard to stem the influx of substandard imports which have managed to penetrate the local construction sector and posing dangers to people and environment.
Pioneer Float Glass Manufacturing Inc. (PFGMI), formerly AGC Flat Glass Philippines Inc. (AGPH) and one of the founding members of Flat Glass Alliance of the Philippines Inc. (FGAPI), has already sought an audience with Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez to discuss their situation.
In its letter to Lopez, PFGMI Executive Vice-President Nonie B. Galpa said the industry association would like to directly express their intention to address public safety and risk reduction on glass and glazing materials through specific regulations.
Galpa said the industry would like to share their recommendation to the DTI Secretary “better and safer glass, glazing and its related applications anchored on the existing safety and quality requirements provided for in the Philippine National Standard No. 193 Series of 2005, as amended.”
Jesus Arranza, chairman of the Federation of Philippine Industries, said they are endorsing the industry association’s position to place the float glass under mandatory standards.
Arranza stressed that placing flat glass under mandatory standards can help stop the importation of this substandard product.
“Most buildings are now using glass and we have been undertaking drills to prepare us just in case the ‘big one’ comes, so it important that all construction materials meet the standards,” he said.
As the last standing hardcore industrial manufacturing operation in the country, PFGMI deserves the protection against unfair trade competition as he reminded of the country’s reliance now on steel importation because of the demise of the National Steel Corp.
PFGMI through its previous owners Asahi Glass of Japan has been operating the lone flat glass manufacturing in the country.