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The Cabinet deliberated on the impact of the recent series of earthquakes and the measures moving forward. According to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, among the concerns raised by President Rodrigo Duterte during the recent Cabinet meeting was the quality of hollow blocks, noting many small hollow block makers may not follow standard processes and specifications needed in production. Even as Sec. Lopez gave assurance on the standard compliance of steel and cement, among others, the President mandated the inclusion of hollow blocks in the list of products with mandatory certification as these are not yet included in the certification schemes implemented by DTI-Bureau of Philippine Standards.

Relatedly, the President ordered all local government units (LGUs) and contractors to ensure that all construction materials being used in any construction activity must pass quality standards. If they are found to be using inferior quality construction materials and not adhering to the specifications in the Building Code as well as in its structural design, their licenses as contractors may be revoked. Likewise, contractors of government projects that use uncertified materials will not be paid and their contracts will be terminated.

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,” Sec. Lopez said.

DTI ensures the standard compliance of products under the mandatory certification list such as cement, steel, nails and glass (although glass’ inclusion is currently under court injunction).

Under the Duterte administration, DTI has tightened products’ certification and procedures. Apart from the PS accreditation of the manufacturing plant, products are also tested at the plant. For imported steel or cement, these are tested at pre-shipment and post-shipment. Sampling size for testing was also increased by more than 15 times.

More products are now being studied to be included in the mandatory certification list such as plywood, roofing, and tiles.♦

Date of Release: 7 November 2019

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