The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) seized P1.5m worth of adulterated cement following a series of raids on several establishments last week.
NBI Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD) chief Jose Yap said the practice, popularly referred to as “buriki,” involves mixing cement with limestone and other filling materials and placing them in sacks that were either stolen or carried fake labels. “The cement does not harden properly and poses a grave threat to public safety,” Yap said.
Armed with search warrants issued by Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Antonio Eugenio Jr., bureau agents swooped down on Starbag Plastic Industries in Valenzuela City where they confiscated more than 150,000 empty counterfeit bags and four rubber stamps used to imprint fake labels on the sacks.
In another incident, 560 empty sacks, 139 sacks of limestone and 15 sacks of “mixed” cement were found stored at D4M Trading, a hardware store in Antipolo City last week.
Over 70 empty sacks and a heavy-duty sewing machine used to create the bags were also seized in a sewing facility, also owned by D4M Trading, in Taytay City, the NBI said.
Yap said the erring establishments were subjected to a two-month surveillance operation before they conducted the raids with the help of Republic Cement Corp., Lafarge Holdings Inc. and Fortune Cement Corp., owners of the “Republic,” “Phoenix” and “Continental” trademarks. Charges of violation of the intellectual property code are now being readied against the owners of the establishments.