Two orders issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) over the weekend have averted the shutdown of the Antipolo plant of Cemex Philippines, whose Island Portland Cement was banned from the market on Aug. 12 for allegedly being "substandard."
A clarification issued by the DTI’s Office of Legal Affairs last Friday indicated that the ban no longer included the "Palitada King" brand of masonry cement, Cemex’s unit Solid Cement Corp. yesterday said. DTI had prohibited Solid Cement from "selling, distributing, delivering and disposing of Island Cement or any brand manufactured by the Solid Cement plant in Antipolo, Rizal to customers, dealers, and distributors, including batching plants and hardware stores."
Paul Victor Aquino, Solid Cement spokesman, said the move lessened the pressure for the Antipolo plant to stop operations. "Given this development, we see some light at the end of the tunnel," he said.
Cemex was also poised to shut down Solid Cement last Monday if not for the DTI’s order for a new round of quality tests on Island Cement.
Mr. Aquino said the result of the tests, which began last weekend, would be out by Saturday. Trade Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal, Jr. earlier said the ban could be lifted in a day or two if Island Cement passed government standards, reiterating the Aug. 12 cease and desist order issued by the legal affairs office was only a preliminary measure that could be lifted anytime.
But Mr. Aquino said there was still "no guarantee" that Solid Cement would continue to operate.