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More monitors deployed to detect substandard construction materials

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will be deploying more teams to monitor the sale of substandard construction materials, calling their distribution “rampant” all over the country.

“Right now, we are working very closely with industry groups in cement and steel as one of our primary campaigns because the use of substandard construction materials is a consumer protection issue,” Trade Assis-tant Secretary Amanda Marie F. Nograles said at a recent media briefing.

She said that the monitoring of materials like steel, cement, wood, and glass will be included in the scope of the DTI’s Task Force Kalasag.

“Right now, more people are building homes, so there is a need for our heightened efforts against substandard construction materials,” she added.

She said that some retailers are offering consumers a substandard option when buying construction materials.

As a result, “there will now be more teams. The DTI was given an additional budget for that. So, Task Force Kalasag, in conjunction with the existing regional office and enforcement teams, will do the monitoring,” she added.

The penalties for those caught selling substandard materials include confiscation of the products, fines of up to P300,000, or jail time if a prosecutor opts to pusue charges.

“That is the only penalty for deceptive sales that the DTI under the Consumer Act, which is a fine of P100,000 to P300,000. That is why we also want to review the penalties to really make them act as a deterrent,” she said.

Asked where the substandard materials appear to be proliferating, she cited the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.

She said that the DTI is studying a plan to release a of brands and products consistently found to be offering substandard products.

“So that is the next step that we are exploring, if we could release a notice to the consumers about the brands that are substandard so that our consumers will be informed,” she added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile