BIZ BUZZ: Cement wars resume | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Cement wars resume

/ 02:16 AM December 26, 2022

Just a little over two months ago, it looked like importers had won the so-called cement wars after the Tariff Commission rejected the plea of local manufacturers to extend safeguard duties on imported cement.

But it now appears that what many thought was the end of the war was actually just the end of the first round.

That’s because the Department of Trade of Industry (DTI) recently issued Department Administrative Order 22-17, imposing what it called a “Definitive Anti-Dumping Duty” against imports of Type 1 and Type 1P cement from Vietnam.


Vietnam, of course, has been singled out by local manufacturers as the main source of the construction material that is supposedly being dumped on local shores to the detriment of Philippine-based cement companies.


The DTI imposed antidumping duties for five years on imports of ordinary Portland cement and blended cement from the Philippine’s neighbor across the South China Sea.

Naturally, the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (Cemap) welcomed the development, saying it supports the investments and development of the domestic cement manufacturing industry for job creation. It also acts as a multiplier, especially as the local economy regains its footing with the waning pandemic.

Cemap said there was sufficient domestic capacity to serve local demand for cement. And even without imports, the domestic industry was highly competitive with 14 integrated cement plants operating in the country, with a few more being built, it explained.

According to its estimates presented during the Tariff Commission’s public hearing, domestic cement capacity stood at 46.8 million metric tons versus a consumption of 28.7 million metric tons for last year. Local manufacturers also continue to expand the capacity of plants and upgrade existing facilities in order to sufficiently serve market demand, the local firms said, adding that this helped stabilize supply, and consequently, prices.

With this recent win at the DTI, domestic manufacturers are celebrating the holidays with smiles. This means they will have to worry less about cheaper imports eating into their market share.

Of course, the question is whether cement importers—who say they are on the side of consumers who are clamoring for lower prices—will take this decision sitting down. We very much doubt it. So in the new year … Abangan!

—Daxim L. Lucas


Former National Irrigation Administration (NIA) head Benny Antiporda is deploring the inequality he said he suffered which ultimately resulted in his removal as the country’s irrigation chief.

“It is unfortunate however that while fulfilling my commitments to the President, I was made a victim of injustice and intrigue and which I was made to pay thru my removal,” said Antiporda in a statement sent to reporters.

He is referring to the actions he made “to fight the culture of corruption and lethargy” at the NIA which, according to him, was “the clear imprimatur of the President during our meeting last August in Malacañang.”

Antiporda issued this statement over a week after NIA announced Eduardo “Eddie” Guillen, a former mayor of Piddig town in Ilocos Norte, assumed the post as the agency’s acting administrator last Dec. 14.

According to Antiporda, it would have been civil if he was accorded courtesy beforehand.

Nonetheless, he expressed his gratitude to President Marcos for the opportunity to serve his administration, albeit briefly.

Antiporda’s ouster came after the Office of the Ombudsman placed him under a six-month preventive suspension without pay due to grave misconduct, among other charges filed by NIA employees in November.

—Jordeene B. Lagare

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TAGS: Cement, Department of Trade of Industry

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