The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) of the Philippines has ordered all its district offices in the region to use Portland or first-class cement in all government infrastructure projects so as not to shortchange the government.
In a memorandum, engineer Daniel G Domingo, DWPH-CAR assistant director and officer-in-charge, directed the district engineers in the Cordillera not to use other kinds of cement except Portland or face charges of violation of government infrastructure contracts.
While banning the use of Excel blended cement in all projects, Domingo advised DPWH officials that it is clear in the project specifications that portland or first-class cement should be used in all infrastructure projects in the whole country.
Department Order (DO) No. 11, dated Jan. 16, 1990, had allowed the use of Portland pozzolan cement Type 1P meeting the requirements as AASHTO M240/ASTN C 695, specifications for blended hydraulic cement for item 311 (Portland cement concrete pavement or PCCP), and item 405 (structural concrete), provided that trial mixes is done and the mixes meet the concrete strength requirements.
At that time, the order was issued to alleviate the cement shortage.
However, the DPWH said that if it has been indicated in the detailed estimate or program of work for concreting that the kind of cement to be procured and used is Portland cement Type 1.
"This specification must be followed as there is no more cement shortage this time and that substitution must be avoided especially if the cement substitute is cheaper in cost or inferior in quality, otherwise, the cost of concreting work shall also be correspondingly be reduced," Domingo said.
Furthermore, Domingo said that the Commission on Audit (COA) may question the cost of cement used considering that blended cement is relatively cheaper compared with Portland cement.
Blended cement, he said, should not be passed on as pure Portland cement because they are not the same.
Domingo admitted having personally spoken to an executive of a cement plant in Luzon who happened to be in town recently and learned that at the moment, the plant is not producing Portland cement in 40-kilo bag in any part of the country.
This affirmed the observation of Acting Mayor Reinaldo A Bautista Jr that Portland cement is not produced for ordinary consumers.
Domingo asserted that Excel cement is Portland Pozzolan kind of cement and not purely Portland cement.
Earlier, Bautista requested the DPWH to ban the use of Excel cement and strictly implement the use of Portland cement in all government infrastructure projects and non-payment of completed projects should be implemented or endorsed to contractors who shall not follow the specifications required on the use of Portland cement.
The acting mayor said that as a government requirement, cement plants must produce Portland cement in 40kg bags so as not to sacrifice the quality of all government projects and also to cater to the ordinary consumers.
In the event that cement plants could not produce the cement pack, Bautista recommended the use of other brand for as long as it is a portland cement, citing that appropriate action must be done as this will have a great impact not only to the nation’s infrastructure projects but to the welfare of the Filipinos as a whole.