By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has released the new technical rules on steel products, imposing stringent product testing, accreditation of foreign manufacturers, and slapping of surety bond for the conditional release of shipments to ensure the standards and quality of this primary construction material.
Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 18-08 s. 2018 entitled “The New Technical Regulations Concerning Deformed Steel Bars, Rerolled steel bars and Equal leg Angle Steel bars” cited the need to strictly ensure that steel products whether locally manufactured or imported meet the specified safety and or quality requirements prescribed by the Bureau of Product Standards. The new DAO took effect last January 6, 2019.
The new DAO requires the all importers shall submit a statement of confirmation (SOC), which states that the imported steel product was sourced from a steel manufacturer with a valid PS License and that the manufacturer complies with specified requirements after undergoing inspection and verification. The SOC must also contain the batch number and manufacturing date of the imported steel.
Although the new DAO still allows conditional release of imported steel, these shipments are subject to certain conditions and payment of surety bond to ensure compliance.
The new DAO has also specified the required inspection on imported steel depending on the quantity of the shipment. For shipments of more than 200,000 MT, the sample size and acceptance of quality limit (AQL) shall apply plus the sample size and AQL of the excess volume.
Sampling lots shall be randomly selected. Two sets of samples shall be drawn from the selected lots. The lot size of the particular shipment or production shall be equal to the 50 tons or a fraction thereof.
The DAO also stated that the BPS, DTI Regional Office/Provincial Office (ROs/Pos), BPS-recognized auditing/inspection body and the PS applicant/license holder and SOC applicant authorized representative shall ensure that the drawn samples shall be traceable to the particular lot where it was drawn.
These entities shall facilitate the preparation of the two sets of two-meter long deformed steel bars, rerolled steel bars and equal leg steel angle bars for every sample drawn properly labeled as first set and second set.
Randomly drawn test samples drawn shall be packed/sealed and signed in the presence of authorized DTI, BPS, ROs/Pos or BPS-recognized auditing body who shall ensure that the request for test form is properly filled up and signed by the manufacturer or importer.
The auditor shall submit the request for test form together with the two sets of samples director to the BPS-recognized testing laboratory within 3 days from the date of the inspection and furnish BPS a copy thereof within 3 days from submission.
For foreign-based PS License Holder/applicants, sample drawn shall be shipped to the BPS-recognized testing laboratory by the auditor/inspector within 3 days from the date of the audit/inspection.
Product testing shall be conducted by a BPS-recognized testing laboratory in accordance with the requirements of the relevant Philippine National Standard. Full product testing shall be conducted on dimension and mass, deformation measurement, mechanical test (tensile strength, yield and elongation), bend test, and chemical analysis.
If the number of failed samples from the first set is equal or less than the AQL prescribed acceptance number, the PS license or SOC certified shall be issued.
If the number of failed samples from the first set is equal or more than the AQL prescribed rejection number, the PS/SOC application shall be denied.
If the number of failed samples from the first set is more than the AQL prescribed acceptance number but less than the prescribed rejection number, the DAO allows the applicant to undertake any of the options specified like request for retesting of the second set of samples or undertake corrective measures.
For imported steel, a surety bond shall be posted on a per shipment basis equivalent to 10 percent of the declared value or dutiable value of the imported production in local currency, whichever is higher, to guarantee that the applicant shall perform its duties and obligations.
Any violation of the terms and conditions of the Product Certification Scheme shall, upon notice, result in the motu propio forfeiture of the bond.
The DAO also specifies that BPS small immediately notify the manufacturer and importer that the product has been declared to be non-conforming and order a product recall 15 days from receipt of the notice.
Roberto Cola, president of Philippine Iron and Steel Institute, cited three most important improvements in the new DAO. These are the PS accreditation of foreign manufacturers to qualify them to export to the Philippines; stringent sampling and testing; and the 10 percent bond for conditional release of shipments to guarantee compliance.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) reported that several hardware stores in southern Luzon provinces have been caught selling substandard reinforcing steel bars (rebars) during their recent market monitoring operation in Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, and Mindoro Occidental.
The industry group submitted the findings of its “test buy” operations in southern Luzon to the Department of Trade and Industry-Consumer Protection Group (DTI – CPG) and requested the government agency to conduct market monitoring and standards enforcement in these provinces.