A consumer group wants the government to act on the proliferation of substandard imported cement being sold in the local market.
The National Coalition of Filipino Consumers (NCFC) on Thursday urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to investigate, saying the substandard cement could become a more serious threat if it ends up being used in public works projects.
The NCFC, in complaints lodged before the Bureau of Product Standards, claimed to have discovered expired, mislabeled and unlabeled cement being sold and used in the provinces and parts of Metro Manila.
It submitted photos as well as purchase receipts as evidence.
Oliver San Antonio, NCFC spokesperson and legal counsel, said the group conducted initial investigations and test buys after receiving reports that substandard cement was being sold in areas like La Union, Davao and Caloocan City.
“We were actually able to buy expired cement in La Union and in Davao, and that’s just an initial sampling. We’re sure there are more substandard cement in other parts of the country being offered to unsuspecting consumers,” San Antonio said,
“When we inspected the construction site of a Caloocan City high school early this month, we saw hundreds of cement bags, labelled with the Buffalo Cement brand from Vietnam, being used to build a four-story structure,” he added.
“The labels have a manufacturing date of December 2016, making it more than nine months old. This is way over the maximum six-month shelf life imposed by the DTI.”
The same “expired” Buffalo brand of cement was also being sold La Union when the group went to check consumer complaints there earlier this month, San Antonio said.
Philippine National Standard 07:2005 states that “cement remaining in bulk storage at the plant/storage silo prior to shipment for more than six months, or cement in bags in local storage in the hands of a vendor for more than three months, needs to be retested.”
The consumer advocate said that “old cement” does not set well and is likely to fail compression tests.
The DTI recently released a new draft of an administrative order on cement that, among others, requires markings for traceability and verification purposes.