Solon hits P1-b Holcim expansion

Solon hits P1-b Holcim expansion
Published: 21 September 2006

The proposed plant expansion project of cement maker Holcim Philippines Inc. is facing allegations of violating environmental standards and posing health risks to residents of surrounding communities in Davao City. 
 
Holcim earlier announced it would spend around P1 billion over the next 12 months to restore its Davao facility. 
 
In a letter to Board of Investments managing head Elmer Hernandez, Davao Rep. Prospero Nograles said while he welcomed the proposed fresh investments of the cement maker, the expansion of the plant posed more problems for his constituents in terms of pollution. 
 
"I am deeply concerned with the reasons behind its registration in view of the current situation the good people of Davao has been experiencing with the current setup of the plant in the city," said Nograles. 
 
He said the plant that Holcim was expanding did not comply with environmental standards and was become a health hazard. 
 
Holcim has filed an application with BoI seeking incentives for the expansion of its facility in Davao City under the 2005 Investment Priorities Plan, which would make the project eligible under the modernization heading. 
 
"I am aware and concerned of the numerous reports of thick cement dust polluting what used to be clean and breathable air in the area, which has caused several health problems among the residents of Davao. Holcim Philippines Inc. has not been complying with the health standards that they themselves are espousing and there is no reason to believe that they will do so once its registration is approved," said Nograles. 
 
"This P1-billion investment demonstrates our long-term commitment to the economic growth of Davao and the rest of Mindanao," said Holcim chief operating officer Paul O’Callaghan in a statement. 
 
The investment came after Holcim’s main production line in Davao was damaged following the collapse of a silo. Soon after this damage, the cement maker was able to re-commission a mothballed line in Davao to help supply the local market.