A group of steel manufacturers is seeking a thorough government probe after it discovered a proliferation of substandard angle bars sold in Rizal and Laguna provinces.
In a letter to the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS), the Steel Angles, Shapes and Sections Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (SASSMPI) reported they found defective samples among angle bars sold in 14 out of 46 hardware stores it surveyed in Rizal and Laguna.
Up to 61 percent of the samples taken during test buys did not comply with safety guidelines in terms of mass or weight, the group warned. The samples were either unmarked or carried the logos identifying their manufacturers.
“The results of testing in both test buys are alarming as the majority of angle bars tested failed in mass (weight),” SASSMPI president Ramon Tan.
Tan urged BPS chief Neil Catajay to audit the facilities of the six steel makers identified by their logos.
Stakeholders of the steel industry have been unearthing steel products being sold across the country that fail to meet government quality standards set to ensure public safety.
“This confirms our earlier fears of a proliferation of substandard, non-compliant steel in the local market” Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) president Ronald Magsajo said.
PISI itself has discovered unmarked, substandard reinforced bars, or rebars, sold across Central and Northern Luzon.
The latest ones were found in Pampanga and La Union in October.
“There is reason to believe that these bars, some of which are possibly smuggled into the country, have found their way across all other regions. Having noncompliant, untraceable bars in the market puts lives and property in danger,” he added.
Two steel firms – Real Steel and Philippine Koktai Metal – have already been cited in June and again in October for selling undersized rebars.
Industry officials have been stepping up their drive against substandard steel products, especially with the construction sector going through a slump because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The market for construction markets has shrunk considerably, leading to cutthroat competition that makers of substandard steel products are manipulating to purposefully manufacture undersized bars to defraud consumers, according to PISI.