Imports force Davao cement firm to lay off workers
() - July 16, 2001 - 12:00am
DAVAO CITY — Close to 300 workers of Union Cement Corp. (UCC) here lost their jobs after the firm, saddled by the surge of imports, closed down two of its three production lines.

As of last month, Francis Felizardo, UCC senior vice president, said cement shipments from Indonesia that reached the ports of Davao City and General Santos City reached a total of 1.1 million bags, equivalent to almost 100 percent of the areas’ monthly demand for cement.

The UCC plant in Barangay Tibungco is reportedly the city’s single biggest taxpayer, paying P25 million in taxes to the local government, and another P207 million to the national government.

Felizardo said Indonesian cement imports, with the brand name "Dozoa," began arriving in May last year. The initial shipment of about 400,000 bags later grew to 1.1 million bags a month.

"We are really wary of the bulk of cement imports because it will eventually kill our local cement industry and more people will lose jobs if this surge of imports goes on unabated," said Ernesto Paredes, UCC chief marketing officer.

The slowdown in cement sales in Southern Mindanao and in other parts of the island forced the UCC to shut down two production lines and lay off workers because revenues could no longer compensate for their continued operation.

Paredes said the continued dumping of cement imports will eventually weaken the country’s cement industry which is supposed to be a strategic component of national development.

UCC officials urged the government to raise the tariff on cement imports to at least 50 percent — just like Malaysia’s — from the existing five percent which, they said, is very low and enables the importers to bring in as much as they want.

BARANGAY TIBUNGCO CEMENT DAVAO CITY AND GENERAL SANTOS CITY DOZOA ERNESTO PAREDES FELIZARDO FRANCIS FELIZARDO IMPORTS SOUTHERN MINDANAO UCC UNION CEMENT CORP
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