DTI tightens monitoring of construction materials
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) intensified its monitoring of the quality of construction materials following the magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Luzon.
The DTI, in a statement on Wednesday, April 24, said it has expanded the areas covered by its monitoring and enforcement activities to Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
More areas will be added within the year, with monitoring to be done in collaboration with local government units.
Aside from accrediting contractors, the DTI will also begin to accredit hardware stores that sell quality goods. The list of compliant and non-compliant stores will be made available to the public. (READ: DTI fully launches online processing for product certifications)
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the agency's move to tighten monitoring sends a "strong message to both consumers and business that we are serious in our campaign against uncertified and substandard materials."
"Finding no non-conforming products such as cement and steel in the establishments that we monitor means that quality goods are being sold to the public," he added.
So far, the agency has found all cement products sold in the market to be compliant with standards set by the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS).
Despite this, Trade Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Group Ruth Castelo said they remain vigilant after receiving a report on the alleged proliferation of substandard cement imported from Vietnam.
"DTI’s intensified monitoring and enforcement efforts definitely include going after unscrupulous importers, traders, and retailers that intentionally disregard the mandatory product certification scheme of the BPS," she added.
In the first 4 months of 2019, the DTI's Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau confiscated and sealed 35,112 pieces of construction materials such as steel bars and unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC pipes), equal-leg angle bars, GI wires, and electrical cords.
These confiscated goods were valued at over P7 million.
Out of 1,173 monitored firms, the bureau also issued 138 notices of violation (NOVs) and filed 118 administrative cases. Criminal charges will be filed against firms that have been given two NOVs.
Citizens are encouraged to report any substandard products or harmful business practices by calling the DTI's consumer care hotline at 1-384 (1-DTI) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. – Rappler.com