DTI Davao City director Teololo Pasawa told MindaNews the closure was executed following the issuance of an order from the DTI's hearing office barring Philman Commercial, Inc. from distributing its imported Horse brand cement.
Pasawa said the order, signed by DTI consumer arbitration officer Zherlyn Trinidad, was effective starting Oct. 17 until the company gets an imported commodity clearance (ICC). He said it was a preventive measure to further bar the company from distributing the 118,000 bags of Horse brand cement.
Philman was barred from distributing the cement and only allowed to stock the product in the warehouse. Pasawa said the products failed an initial standards check required by the DTI's Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) in the issuance of the ICC.
The DTI said it conducted a followup sampling test which it sent to Manila on Oct. 11 for laboratory examination.
Following a 28-day testing period and a seven-day transmittal procedure, the test results will be due on Nov. 15. The ICC is required so Philman can distribute the imported goods to local users. Pasawa said the warehouse will be closed until that time.
He warned cement distributors like hardware stores "not to attempt selling" the Horse cement brand until the product gets an ICC. The DTI also called on consumers to be more vigilant as supply of the cement had been illegally distributed by the firm amid an ICC.
The DTI office in Southeastern Mindanao has monitored the illegal distribution of an estimated 30,000 bags of alleged substandard cement imported from China in some construction sites in Davao and General Santos cities.
The DTI described the cement to have "a very high soluble content" and "can hardly withstand pressure, making it dangerous to use."
The DTI is now preparing to sue the importer. He said the distribution of substandard cement could result in the revocation of the firm's license to import. The company will also be meted out administrative fines and its business permit may even be revoked, Pasawa warned.
He said the discovery of the illegal release paved the way for the padlock order. But the DTI said they are yet to find out how Philman, a Manila-based importer, was able to get the goods out of the warehouse for distribution.
Pasawa said a DTI legal team will summon the company to explain within five to six days their side on the issue before formally charging them for violating the temporary clearance given them.
The DTI reported it received a report from its office in General Santos that suppliers have been selling the brand to construction sites in the city. Earlier, the DTI reported having monitored the use of the same brand in two construction sites in Davao.