PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered the inclusion of hollow blocks in the list of products for mandatory certification after questions about the quality of building materials emerged following recent earthquakes.

A statement from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Thursday said that the President raised concerns about building materials during the Cabinet meeting Wednesday, particularly those made by small suppliers, after the recent earthquakes in Mindanao.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said steel, cement, and several other construction materials are routinely certified to comply with quality standards.

Mr. Duterte also ordered all local government units (LGU) and contractors to ensure that all construction materials they use pass quality standards.

Contractors using inferior-quality construction materials and breaching specifications in the Building Code and structural design may have their contractor licenses revoked. Contractors that use uncertified materials for government projects will not be paid and will have their contracts terminated, Mr. Lopez said.

“The quality of any building structure depends not only on the product standards, but also on the quality of the construction job, particularly on adherence to approved structural design and the Building Code, required steel density, cement mixtures, among others,” Mr. Lopez said.

DTI has issued new technical regulations for cement, steel bars, and glass. Cement, steel bars, and nails are in the mandatory certification list, while the inclusion of glass in the list is currently subject to a court injunction.

The department is studying the inclusion of roofing, ceramic tiles, and plywood in the list. DTI is also holding consultations on the regulation of black iron and galvanized iron; steel pipes; and steel sheets.

Apart from the PS (Philippine Standard) accreditation of the manufacturing plant, products are also tested at the plant, and imported steel or cement are tested at pre-shipment and post-shipment stages. The sample size for testing was also increased significantly. — Jenina P. Ibañez