Freeman Cebu Business

DTI’s help sought to curb imported cement influx

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) has called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to help curb the influx of imported cement in the country that possibly did not go through proper inspection, posing a great risk to the integrity and safety of the construction sector.

In a statement, CeMAP said that there is now a growing concern that the Philippines, with its upbeat construction industry, is being flooded with imported cement that possibly have not been subjected to proper sampling by the government authorities before being sold in the market, thereby bypassed the compliance of critical requirement as provided for in Department Administrative Order No. 17-06 of the DTI.

According to CeMAP, the entry of unchecked imported cement products is a serious matter that needs to be addressed immediately since consumer protection is possibly compromised and poses great risk to the strength and durability of houses, roads, bridges, etc. across the Philippines where there are a lot of construction activities going on.

CeMAP claimed that there are photos and advertisements sent through social media and some are shared through messaging apps that certain cement products, sold across the Philippines especially in Western Visayas, Central Luzon, and parts of Mindanao, appear to be directly sold from vessels, at ex-vessel price, possibly even before the necessary inspection and sampling are completed.

However, as per DAO 17-06, there should be product inspection and sampling to be done by the DTI, and these procedures are mandatory prior to distribution, sale or use of the imported cement product in the Philippines.

Consequently, CeMAP has recommended to the DTI to review the compliance with the DAO and requested the immediate suspension of the summary issuance of the Statement of Confirmation based only on the importation documents and pre-shipment inspection report as it might be subject to exploitation.

The CeMAP statement argues that imported cement, irrespective of whether it underwent pre-shipment testing, should be mandated to undergo both chemical and seven-day physical strength testing (referred to as critical testing). This additional testing is deemed necessary before cement is allowed distribution, sale or use. The purpose is to assess if it adheres to the specified standards outlined in the Philippine National Standards (PNS). This precaution is crucial due to the potential risk of deterioration in cement quality during handling, shipping, and transportation from a foreign manufacturers’ plant to the Philippine ports.

CeMAP added that imported cement are likewise exposed to elements such as humidity and other sea elements from its long voyage prior to arrival in the Philippines, which may affect its quality and performance.

Therefore, concern for consumer protection calls for mandatory critical testing to determine that the imported cement can withstand the weather conditions in the Philippines and should comply with the PNS before the distribution, sale, or use, CeMAP said.

CeMAP reiterated that non-compliance or absence of critical testing requirements while the products are already being sold, puts at great risk the consumers of the cement itself and public in general.

“We are talking about the integrity, safety, durability, and life cycle of the structures like houses, clinics, schools, hospitals, buildings, roads, bridges etc., and it is obviously dangerous if the product does not properly go through the same rigorous standards and testing that are required for locally manufactured cement,” CeMAP statement emphasized.

Thus, the CeMAP strongly advises the consuming public, including builders, developers and even retailers, to exercise heightened vigilance when it comes to the cement products they use or sell in the market. It is crucial to ensure that the products they are using or selling comply with the Philippine National Standards (PNS).

The general public is also urged to check with their developers or contractors that the cement they use in their own construction projects are fully tested and compliant.

CeMAP further recommended to DTI an immediate review of the DAO, which is necessary to rectify the current situation and ensure strict enforcement and full compliance with regulations.

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