By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Department of Trade and Industry has committed to reinstate more construction materials under the list of mandatory product standards previously removed by the past administration to help facilitate flow of goods during the height of the port congestion.
DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez told reporters that after implementing the strict standards on structural products, cement and steel, they are now working on the reinstatement of other construction materials such as glass, tiles, plywood, and roofing materials.
Lopez said they have to start with the structural products because these would affect lives. The next batch of products for reinstatement under the list of mandatory product standards are not much of structural issue but for safety purposes because the risk is not so much a matter of life and death unlike cement and steel, Lopez explained.
After cement and steel, the Department Administrative Order on flat glass is expected to take effect soon following its publication.
Plywood, tiles and roofing materials will follow, he said. The DTI is just threshing out other factors like the testing machines to determine that products meet the standards.
Lopez noted that the past administration removed many products under the list mandatory standards to facilitate the flow of goods during the height of the port congestion. As a result, he said, the DTI lost its power to protect consumers over the standards of these construction materials.
“The problem now is we have several complaints on standards, so since we are now under normal situation we have to bring these products under the list of mandatory standards. That’s what we are doing now, we cover those products as much as we can,” said Lopez.
He, however, said that reinstating these products cannot be done immediately.
Products under mandatory standards monitoring will have to undergo pre and post shipment inspections. Manufacturers must have the ICC (Import Commodity Clearance) or PS (Philippine Standard) marks.
Lopez also added that these are just quality and safety measures that they are strictly implementing, and cannot be considered non-trade barrier.
Laban Konsyumer Inc. President Victorio Mario Dimagiba agreed with Lopez saying product standards are meant to address safety and protection to consumers.
But he also stressed, “Mandatory standards should not be used as a trade policy to favor business. The Competition Act prohibits regulations that restrain competition.”