Industry lobby says earthquake highlights threat from substandard steel products

PHOTO shows debris from a construction site in La Trinidad, Benguet after the quake that struck northern Philippines on July 27. — OFFICE OF REP. ERIC GO YAP

THE Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI), an industry lobby, said substandard steel products continue to proliferate, noting the widespread destruction caused by the recent northern Luzon earthquake.

PISI President Ronald C. Magsajo said the widespread use of low-quality steel bars was evident in the earthquake, whose epicenter was Abra province.

“The Philippines is prone to natural disasters. Just recently, we saw a magnitude 7 earthquake rock northern Luzon. We can only imagine the scale of destruction when low-quality steel products make their way into homes, buildings, bridges and other infrastructure,” Mr. Magsajo said in a statement on Thursday. 

Last year, PISI found that 35 stores carried substandard steel products in the wake of a “test buy” campaign in 16 provinces and six regions.

According to PISI, the campaign turned up 27 steel reinforcing bars that were substandard out of 130 purchased in test buys.

“One retailer in northern Mindanao was cited for violations while a request was sent to the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) to also issue a notice of violation to Bukidnon Steel, which PISI found selling substandard steel,” it said.

In 2022, PISI conducted test buys in six provinces across four regions and found 10 stores selling substandard steel. 

“PISI has been helping regulators crack down on erring retailers and manufacturers as inflation together with the rising costs of fuel and energy, are causing less efficient mills to turn to producing substandard products,” it said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave