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DTI asked to probe proliferation of substandard steel bars in Leyte

The Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) has asked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Consumer Protection Group (CPG) to immediately launched a regular market monitoring and standards enforcement on steel bars being sold in Leyte and Samar now that rebuilding activities in these earthquake-affected areas are being undertaken. 

In a letter sent to DTI by Teodoro Pascua, PISI said it conducted an investigation in areas affected by the earthquake early this month, which include Kananga, Palo, Ormoc City, and Tacloban City in Leyte and Basey in Samar.

“In order to verify the quality of rebars sold in the market, we conducted random test buys from the hardware stores,” PISI said.

There were four hardware stores in which the investigative team conducted the test buys and this included Ormoc Macmercury Hardware in Ormoc City; New Mancera Lumber & Hardware Supply and V. Lopez Lumber & Construction Supplies in Palo, Leyte; and L’ Casi Enterprise in Basey, Samar.

“We also received reports regarding the proliferation of substandard rebars being sold in the market and that some hardware stores usually used 9-millimeter diameter rebar,” PISI noted.

“The alleged selling of 9mm was positively proven based on the receipt issued by L’ Casi Enterprise. The rebar is considered uncertified due to the absence of manufacturer’s logo and that the actual size marking is only 7mm based from the two filled spaced embossed on the bar,” the group added.

PISI also mentioned that a sample of steel bar was cut and tested.

The result showed that the sample failed to meet the minimum standard requirement of 18 percent in terms of elongation. The sample only has elongation value of 14.5 percent.

A steel from New Mancera Lumber & Hardware Supplies likewise failed to meet the minimum tensile strength requirement.

Moreover, the report said most of the steel bars sold in Leyte and Samar passed through the Cebu Port.

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