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Battle lines drawn: Davao importer takes legal action against DTI in Philippine steel market dispute

A Davao-based importer and distributor has petitioned Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual to halt what it deems as a targeted campaign against its brand in the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) crackdown on substandard fence tubes in Mindanao.

Jennifer Wingki Qua, president and general manager of Davao TYT Lucky Steel Corp., lodged charges against DTI officials, including Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, following the recent DTI clampdown on substandard steel producers.

Qua implored Pascual to intervene and cease the monitoring and enforcement actions conducted against their product, “Lucky Fence Tubes,” by Manila-based DTI officials.

In her communication, Qua emphasized that her company holds a valid import and distribution license for Lucky Fence Tubes, asserting their exclusive use for fencing, steel frames, or other structural applications.

Qua pointed out that the imported fence tubes bear the requisite Consumer Act markings and are transparently designated for steel frame structures, countering allegations of deceptive sales practices.

She highlighted that the ongoing actions of Castelo and her team lack proper documentation and disregard the absence of an applicable standard for fence tubes, which is scheduled to be implemented in July 2024.

Alleging targeted discrimination, Qua noted that despite presenting laboratory test results showing similar characteristics in competitor products, raids have exclusively targeted Davao TYT’s fence tubes, prompting her to file graft charges against DTI officials before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The confrontation has escalated to charges under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as administrative cases for alleged misconduct, dishonesty, abuse of authority, and actions detrimental to the public interest.

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