Halt the ban on Island Cement

Halt the ban on Island Cement
Published: 19 August 2004

Solid Cement Corp has asked the Court of Appeals to stop the government from banning the sale of its Island Portland Cement in the market, calling the cease and desist order issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) last week "unfair" and "without basis."

In its petition, Solid Cement, a member of the CEMEX Philippines Group of Companies, said the order must be nullified as DTI committed "grave abuse of discretion" amounting to "lack or excess of jurisdiction."

DTI on Tuesday explained the order was "preliminary" and a preventive measure to protect consumers from the "substandard" brand while Solid Cement’s case was being adjudicated.

Solid Cement faces an administrative case initiated by the Trade department’s Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection, which cited as respondents company officials Jaime Ruiz de Haro, Jose Luis Saenz de Miera, and Francisco Cue.

But Solid Cement, in a statement, said DTI "refused to take into account voluminous evidence submitted by the company that attested to the quality" of Island Cement.

Aside from internal quality control measures, Solid Cement said its products were approved by the Cement Testing Center, an accredited laboratory.

"We are a leading provider of quality cement products, and we totally dispute the claim that we are selling substandard products in the Philippines, said Mr. de Haro, CEMEX country director.

"This ruling is precipitate and unfair because it was issued despite the absence of a finding on truth or falsity of the complaint. Independent test findings [on] the quality of our products were totally ignored," he added.

Solid Cement claimed the test results of the Department of Public Works and Highways’s Bureau of Research and Standards were "disputed."

"We find it therefore incomprehensible that Solid Cement’s Island Cement has allegedly fallen below the minimum comprehensive strength required because the company has, in fact, been issued a Product Standards License No. Q-0092 by the DTI-Bureau of Product Standards," Mr. de Haro said.