BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 30 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recognized the initiative and effort of the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) in monitoring the quality of Philippine-made and imported cement products being sold in the country.
In a press statement, the DTI revealed it saw the need for a new regulation following a review conducted by the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) on the policy regarding the manufacture and importation of cement products.
The department has recently announced that it will be issuing a Memorandum Circular (MC) on the Supplemental Guidelines for the Implementation of Department Administrative Order (DAO) 17-06, Series of 2017 after CeMAP raised concerns about imported cement being labelled with "Made in the Philippines."
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the new policy will promote transparency and accuracy on the product markings for both locally manufactured and imported cement products.
"It is incumbent upon the importers and/or manufacturers to properly label their products and reflect the country where these products were produced," said Lopez.
The official added that the policy will properly guide consumers and help boost the campaign patronizing locally produced products to help the economy recover from the effects of the pandemic.
"While consumer safety is always one of the department's priorities, it is also the mandate of DTI to protect and support local manufacturing industries. This is why the DTI strongly promotes the Buy Local, Go Lokal campaign, encouraging all local consumers to patronize Filipino products and services," Lopez underscored.
Meanwhile, the local cement manufacturers also commended the DTI for immediately taking action and issue the needed policy that will also ensure consumer protection against mislabelled cement products in the market. "This is a welcomed development and a huge victory for the local cement industry and the thousands of workers that it employs," the CeMAP said in a statement.
The group said it will also ensure that legitimate local producers will benefit from the government's initiative that give preference to Philippine-made construction materials for its infrastructure projects.
"We are hoping that through this issuance, the rampant mislabelling of imported cement products as locally made will be completely eradicated," the group said.
It was learned that upon the issuance of the supplemental guidelines, the DTI-BPS will be conducting verification and monitoring of cement bagging facilities in the country to ensure immediate compliance with the prescribed product markings.
Under this MC, all locally manufactured and imported cement products shipped in bulk and bagged in a PS licensed bagging facility shall be permanently marked with the name and address of the manufacturer, the country of manufacture, and the words "Bagged by:", followed by the name and address of the bagging facility, among others.
In addition, manufacturers and operators of bagging facilities are directed to immediately cease all printing operations of previously approved cement bag designs indicating "Product of the Philippines" even if the cement products are imported.
The DTI-BPS will be conducting an inventory of all printed cement bags for recording purposes and employ immediate corrective action to reflect the correct country of manufacture.
"We encourage and support investments in additional cement processing facilities, but we will also not waiver in our pursuit to ensure level playing fields, both for locally manufactured and imported products," said Secretary Lopez. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)