AN industry group has urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to conduct an investigation after finding substandard rebar being sold in Central Luzon.

In a statement sent to reporters over the weekend, the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) recommended that the agency’s Consumer Protection Group conduct an “immediate” audit in the region amid “the very high incidence” of substandard reinforcing steel bars produced and “openly sold” in the region.

The agency was also asked to issue show-cause orders to manufacturers and importers found responsible for supplying substandard rebar.

The group said it conducted on Feb. 28 test purchases with 14 random sellers across the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija to verify the complaints which it has been receiving for the past four weeks.

It found 10 samples of underweight or undersized rebar sold in eight hardware stores; one sold a sample with marginal elongation; and another sold rebar with a diameter of 9 millimeters which is below the nominal diameter indicated under the Philippine National Standard (PNS) 49:2002.

“Based from the results of the recent market test-buy and even from the series of previous activities done by PISI, it was proven that there were really substandard rebars sold in the market,” PISI said in a separate report dated March 14.

“This is obviously a burden not only from the legitimate rebar producers and/or manufacturers, but mostly, the great effect would be to those consumers using substandard rebars without their due knowledge. The fraudulent selling of substandard rebars compromise safety of the general public.” — Janina C. Lim