QUEZON CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are pushing for stricter environmental standards and more modern and cleaner technology in steelmaking industry to ensure manufacturers produce quality and safer steel products as well as encourage industries to be environment-friendly.

During a meeting between DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu last Monday, the agencies agreed to review existing environmental standards and production technologies used in steelmaking, considering reports that several used induction furnace facilities have been set up, which can be more pollutive and produce inconsistent quality and non-conforming steel products.

What we need in the country are modern, environmentally friendly technologies that will consistently produce quality products,” said Sec. Lopez.

China, which has the top three steelmakers in the list of the top six largest in the world, has phased out and eradicated induction furnaces in 2017 because of its pollutive process and inconsistent quality products manufactured.

We do not want those used pollutive induction furnaces to transfer to our country,” the trade chief added.

DTI is intensifying its campaign for safer and higher quality steel products; thus, it is reviewing its policies and regulations on this matter.

This collaboration with DENR will help us in promoting industrial capacity building with the use of advance technology in steel making while protecting our environment. This is also a testament that as we drive economic growth, we encourage responsible businesses in the country,” said Sec. Lopez.

The DTI and the DENR are set to form a Technical Working Group (TWG) to align its policies and strategies in ensuring steelmaking facilities are compliant with environmental standards and product quality. The TWG will likewise review the compliance of steel producers with an online monitoring system linked to the DENR.

According to the Trade Secretary, the move is also in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production, which is actively pursued in the ASEAN region.

Sec. Cimatu expressed DENR’s commitment in the collaboration. He assured that the Environmental Management (EMB) as well as the Mines and Geosciences Bureaus (MGB) will be in coordination with the DTI-Consumer Protection Group and the Board of Investments (BOI) in this agenda.

Sec. Lopez said that both agencies are studying proposed regulations on the use of secondhand equipment or machineries in the steel industry. Moreover, a study on the possibility of making the approval for all environmental compliance certificates (ECC) for critical heavy industries like steelmaking and cement be on a national level. This is to ensure more comprehensive and faster review of ECC applications, as well as enjoining a more intensive environment and production monitoring of steelmaking facilities.

The TWG shall also review the proposed increase in penalties imposed on manufacturers violating environmental standards or the terms and conditions in the ECC.

As for the DTI-Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS), Sec. Lopez committed that there will be a review on the Philippine Standard (PS) license certification scheme procedures for steel products, possibly including steel billets, and more intensive monitoring at the retail trade level.

Present during the meeting were DENR Undersecretary Rodolfo Garcia, MGB Assistant Director Danilo Uykieng, Metallurgical Technology Division Chief Engr. Juancho Calvez, and EMB Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Division Chief Engr. Esperanza Sajul, DTI Undersecretaries Ceferino Rodolfo and Ruth Castelo, DTI-BPS Officer-in-Charge Engr. Neil Catajay, BOI Governor Angelica Cayas and Director Evariste Cagatan.♦

Date of Release: 3 September 2019