In order to ensure public safety while establishing the quality of steel imports, the DTI has withdrawn the Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) for a 20,000 MT shipment of steel bars, the largest ever shipped into the country that arrived at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) from China. The inspection report by DTI Region 3 (Central Luzon) dated 23 November 2016, as attested by the importer’s own representative and evidenced by photographs, shows that more than 50% of the steel bundles of the said shipment have missing tags, making it difficult to identify the steel bars from the declared manufacturer in China and to trace these bars with a specific production lot/ batch.
Shortly after the letter on the withdrawal was issued, the DTI requested for a joint re-inspection to the importer, Mannage Resources Trade Corporation (MRTC). The inspection team was tasked with determining that the shipment remains intact and no steel bars have been distributed to the market; and, conducting a technical assessment of the issue on the missing tags and to the manufacturer in China and its traceability to the said Mill’s production batches. However, MRTC disallowed the team’s entry for a joint re-inspection. This is a clear violation of Section 5 of Department Administrative Order (DAO) 05, Series 2008, on the authority of the DTI to ensure that the shipment is intact pending the approval/ denial of the ICC.
With non-cooperation from the importer, along with reports that the importer has taken-out several truckloads of the steel bars from the Subic storage area without an appropriate ICC, DTI will be filing administrative charges for violation of DTI rules and regulations, as well as, criminal and civil charges for violation of the Republic Act 4109 or Standards Law and the R. A. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, against the importer. More importantly, the DTI is tracking these steel bars and has been coordinating with consumer groups in order to raise awareness on the possibility that these have leaked to the market. The BOC and SBMA have also alerted their personnel to prevent the release of any imported steel bars without DTI's clearance.
DTI officials commit to ensure that only steel products that comply with Philippine National Standards, Product Certification Scheme, and, the provisions of the Standards Law and Consumer Act of the Philippines, are sold in the market. Any importer that does not comply with said provisions will be held fully liable.