By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Cement traders said that imported cement brought in and sold locally with Statements of Confirmation by authorized cement importers have met and surpassed safety and quality standards prescribed by the Department of Trade and Industry.
The Cement Importers Association of the Philippines (CIAP) issued this strong statement in the wake of fake and malicious statements being spread in news, online, and social media on the quality of cement imported from Vietnam for the Philippine market.
“All legally imported cement retailed in the Philippine market are guaranteed to meet stringent quality controls. Our members import cement from various countries, including Vietnam. But wherever imported cement is sourced, we wish to stress that imported cement undergoes a three-tiered quality control procedure mandated by DTI,” CIAP said.
The association pointed out that even Philippine manufacturers are among those who have been importing cement from Vietnam and selling them under their own brand names.
CIAP stressed that the quality controls imposed by DTI on imported cement have been very stringent compared to locally manufactured cement.
Each and every batch of imported cement is tested by the DTI. “If there is more than one batch in one shipment, we are required to provide samples for each batch for DTI to test,” it said.
As a further safety and quality check on imported cement, imported cement must pass a 28-day strength requirement in 7 days at the latest. Otherwise, imports will have to stay at warehouses for the whole 28 days.
On the other hand, domestic manufacturers enjoy a less stringent strength requirement as their products only need to pass the 28-day strength requirement in 28 days. As a matter of fact, they can already start selling as soon as their cement leaves their respective plants.
In addition, CIAP noted that importation of cement is under the strict monitoring and regulation of the Bureau of Philippine Standards.
Under Department Administrative Order 17-06 issued by DTI in 2017, cement can only be imported from manufacturing plants that have been pre-screened and have passed stringent accreditation standards, which is the first stage of DTI’s quality control procedures.
Upon accreditation, foreign plants are given a Philippine Standards (PS) Quality mark and/or Safety Certification (SC) mark. All cement destined for the Philippines must carry the PS or SC mark on the packaging.