TRADE SECRETARY Ramon M. Lopez said local governments should ensure that they issue building permits only to construction projects that comply with the building code and use materials that meet product quality standards.

Dapat mas strict ’yung adherence to code, at ’yung actual clearances given by LGUs (local government units) — all these building permits (Adherence to code must be strict and tied to the issuance of LGU clearances),” he told reporters at a construction forum Wednesday.

He said that the industry must use construction materials that comply with the requirements of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Bureau of Philippine Standards.

“We must address the regulations of the construction sector affected by governance issues regarding the issuance of construction permits and the procurement of government projects, and I must add also to ensure that we only use standard, compliant construction materials,” he said during his presentation.

Mr. Lopez said that the regulatory and enforcement powers of the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines must be strengthened to curtail unlicensed construction activity and improve compliance with building standards.

He noted the need for resiliency and sustainability standards because the Philippines is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world.

DTI in November said it will investigate the use of substandard steel in building projects, after a series of earthquakes in Mindanao called into question the quality of infrastructure.

The department has issued new technical regulations for cement, steel bars and glass, and is studying the inclusion of roofing, ceramic tiles, and plywood in the list for mandatory certification.

DTI is also holding consultations for regulations on black iron and galvanized iron, steel pipes and steel sheets. — Jenina P. Ibañez