THE PHILIPPINE Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) said the Trade department has started seizing substandard steel products from hardware stores.

“The unprecedented act of seizing the inferior products sends a strong signal to the errant manufacturers and hardware stores,” PISI President Ronald C. Magsajo said in an e-mailed statement on Friday.

The department and the private sector would further intensify their campaign against substandard rebars, angle bars, and unmarked and unregistered bars, he added.

There would be “intensified” test-buy operations in the suspected hotspots of inferior steel products, Mr. Magsajo said.

He added that some manufacturers have been taking advantage of consumers who have become “price-sensitive” during the pandemic crisis.

“PISI and the Department of Trade and Industry have to step in to protect the public,” Mr. Magsajo noted.

The group has said its monitoring team found steel bars with either no markings or unregistered logos in Pampanga and La Union in October.

It has also flagged substandard rebars in Central Luzon, which failed to meet mass variation, bending, lug height and diameter, and tensile and yield strength standards.

In 2019, the Trade department said it would investigate the proliferation of substandard steel products after legislators observed damage to buildings caused by earthquakes in southern Philippines. — Arjay L. Balinbin