Philippine cement prices continue to rise, hitting as high as P170 per bag in the tiny province of Siquijor. According to the Department of Trade and Industry it is "closely coordinating with its regional and provincial offices nationwide in monitoring the trends in cement prices to appropriately respond to any unusual price increases, especially during the summer months where peak demand for cement is historically noted."
The DTI reported that the prevailing average retail prices of gray portland cement nationwide for the period March 1 to 11, 2005 showed a slight increase of 0.29 percent from P158.05 to P158.51 per 40-kg bag compared to the fourth week of February 2005. The retail price of cement remained constant for all the other regions nationwide ranging from P153 to P165 per 40-kg bag except for Region III (Cabanatuan) where the average retail price increased from P150 to P154 per 40-kg bag.
Assistant Trade Secretary J. Norman Hocson further revealed that in Siquijor, the price for a 40-kg bag has hit P170. However, Hocson explained, the increase is due to high shipping cost. The cement industry claims that the increase in the retail prices of cement since January is due to the increase in the cost of transportation resulting from the series of fuel increases. Local cement manufacturers are seeking an extension on the safeguard measures on gray portland cement which expired last Dec. 9, 2004.