Construction activities on Cebu island are not expected to peak up until summer but increases in the prices of cement and other building materials are already felt this early. In its latest Price Behavior of Basic and Prime Commodities, the Department of Trade and Industry 7 noted a P14 increase in the cost of both Portland and Pozzolan cements. From last month’s price of P120, Portland now costs P134. Pozzolan, on the other hand, went up from P117 to P131 this month. Zaida Bation, chief of the Price Monitoring Division, said DTI-Manila is undertaking a study of the previous prices of cement in Cebu to establish its price trend.
The study was prompted by a request of Gov. Pablo Garcia who asked DTI to investigate the alleged cartel manipulating cement prices here. Baiton assured consumers that DTI is constantly conducting its weekly monitoring on cement prices, while waiting for the study from DTI-Manila to be released. The governor earlier stressed that his own study showed that locally manufactured cement stocks, which carry the brand names Apo and Grand are sold cheaper in other places in the country. He also noted that in Cebu, cement manufactured in other parts of the country are priced almost the same with local cement products even when their distributors still have to pay for freight and cargo handling charges.