Philippine authorities yesterday lifted the ban on Solid Cement Corp’s Island Portland Cement after tests showed that samples have attained the minimum compressive strength required by government standards. But the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will still pursue the case versus Solid Cement and will conduct a monthly product and factory audit until it is satisfied with Island Cement’s quality.
Jesus L. Motoomull, director of the DTI’s Bureau of Product Standards, said the monthly monitoring is part of a three-page order signed by DTI adjudication officer, Virgilio A. Sevandal. DTI personnel will begin the six-month product and factory audit at the Solid Cement plant in Antipolo today. In his order, Mr. Sevandal noted a conflict in the results for one of Solid Cement’s eight silos. Samples from Silo 8 attained a 33.4-megapascal (MPa) strength after the 28-day test, which is above the minimum requirement of 27.6 MPa, according to results from Philippine Geo- Analytics, Inc., an independent laboratory accredited by the DTI.
But results from the Bureau of Research Standards of the Department of Public Works and Highways showed that Silo 8 attained only 25.5 MPa. "In view of the above-stated conflict, the monthly surveillance/monitoring audit, must be initiated as soon as possible," Mr. Sevandal said.
Solid Cement, though, was earlier allowed to sell products from Silo 8, along with silos 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 when the ban was partially lifted last Sept 9. The partial lifting was based on three-day and seven-day tests, under which cement samples must attain 12.4 MPa and 19.3 MPa, respectively. Yesterday’s order now allows Solid Cement to sell products from Silo 4 and the warehouse, which were not covered by the partial lifting.
"It is our policy to conduct frequent product and factory surveillance on products under the [Bureau of Product Standards] Mandatory Certification Scheme that has had problems in complying with standards. In the case of Island Cement, a monthly audit will tell us whether future batches of the said cement are consistently complying with the requirements," Mr. Motoomull said.
DTI banned Island Cement in an Aug 12 order, which prohibited Solid Cement and its parent Cemex of Mexico from selling, distributing, delivering and disposing of Island Cement or any brand manufactured by its plant in Antipolo, Rizal to customers, dealers, and distributors, including batching plants and hardware stores "as a preventive measure to protect consumers against substandard cement."
If found liable by the DTI legal office, Solid Cement faces a P150,000 fine on a "per offense basis," aside from a cease and desist order, and withdrawal of business registration.