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Steel that snaps

Egay Uy .

JUST imagine the damage if the product that is supposed to reinforce concrete columns and posts of a building will itself be the first to snap.

The City Price Coordinating Council was invited by the Department of Trade and Industry-Misamis Oriental Provincial Office under Provincial Director Almer Masillones to witness and inspection of steel bars sold by wholesale and retail traders in the city. The DTI received an urgent directive from its head office to do the monitoring.

The monitoring was conducted, to my mind, for the government to have a general view of the situation of the steel bar market all over the country. It was supposedly a nationwide simultaneous monitoring which could have stemmed from the reported proliferation of sub-standard steel bars in the market. In fact, DTI Secretary Mon Lopez was featured in a national daily to have personally done monitoring.

Since the activity was merely for monitoring purposes, neither confiscation of items nor imposition of fines or penalties was done. The findings were to be sent to the DTI head office from where the DTI’s enforcement bureau will take action. The DTI enforcers will most likely conduct enforcement operations as a follow through of the monitoring.

The bureau of Philippine standards has required steel bar manufacturers to emboss on the various sizes of steel bars their respective company logos and the size and class or quality of the products.  There is also a requirement for the steel bars to be painted with specified colors at the tips. The colors correspond to specific sizes that will easily guide the buyers.

Most of the smaller steel bars, starting from size eight millimeter to the smallest were found to have no embossed logos and other required markings. The bigger sizes however were found compliant, except for some that did not have the required color at the tip.

The public is thus cautioned to be extra vigilant when buying steel bars and be sure to get what the pay for. Size eight millimeter deformed bars are sold as 2.2-kilo bars, size seven millimeter as 1.7-kilo, and a size six millimeter is sold as 1.2-kilo bar per six meters.  Reference of the steel bars by weight could also confuse the consuming public.

Then there was that report that a certain type of deformed steel bar could snap when bent to a certain degree.  This could be an accident waiting to happen because deformed steel bars are supposed to reinforce concrete in concreted constructions.

This will have to be acted upon with dispatch by the DTI enforcement bureau.  And the public will have to warned against buying steel bars that snap.

(Egay Uy is a lawyer. He chairs the City’s Regulatory and Complaint Board, co-chairs with the city mayor the City Price Coordinating Council, and chairs the city’s Joint Inspection Team. He retired as a vice president of Cepalco.)

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