Sen. Bam: 25 percent of Steel Products in Market Substandard, Smuggled

Around twenty five percent of imported and locally manufactured steel products sold in the country are either mislabeled or substandard.

This was revealed by industry stakeholders during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship chaired by Senator Bam Aquino.

“One study came out and this was relayed to me by the Philippine Steelmakers Association (PSA) that up to 25 percent of all steel in the market is actually mislabeled or substandard,” Aquino said during the hearing.

Aquino called this scenario unacceptable, saying this comprises a form of corruption and fraud as the public pays good money for right quality but end up buying substandard materials.

“Initially, these substandard materials probably won’t make a difference but when disasters strike then it becomes really important,” the senator added.

Also, the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) disclosed that about 450,000 metric tons out of two million metric tons of imported steel were substandard or smuggled.

The PISI said these substandard steel products made its way to the country through misdeclaration or direct smuggling.

“How can anyone miss 18,000 container vans with 450,000 metric tons of imported steel,” Aquino asked during the hearing.

Among the substandard imported steel products were 300,000 metric tons of wire rods that were converted to reinforcing bars or rebars and used for the construction of 60,000 homes in different parts of the country, putting 300,000 lives in danger.

With this, Aquino has called for a systemic reform within the Bureau of Customs through the passage of a Customs Modernization law to make it more efficient against smuggling.

“If we have a more computerized system, malinaw na malinaw kung anong binabayad na taripa, that could stop smuggling in the long run,” Aquino stressed.

“You have countries like Singapore, what takes them half a day takes us weeks to do. Di talaga acceptable na sa modernong panahon, napaka-Jurassic ng ating sistema sa Customs,” he added.

At the same time, Aquino lauded Customs Commissioner John Sevilla for coordinating with the DTI and the Bureau of Internal Revenue to strengthen the agency’s fight against smuggling.

“I’m happy to say that Customs Commissioner Sevilla is pushing for a major overhaul ng kanilang sistema. Hindi na sapat kasi na individual lang ang ginagalaw-galaw o nililipat-lipat,” Aquino said.


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